US, Saudi mediators announce new truce
Sudan's warring generals have agreed to a 24-hour ceasefire from today, US and Saudi mediators said, acknowledging that previous attempts to pause a conflict now nearing its third month had proved abortive.
"Representatives of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) agreed to a 24-hour countrywide ceasefire beginning on June 10 at 6:00 am (0400 GMT)," said a joint statement from the mediators released by Saudi foreign ministry yesterday.
Multiple ceasefires have been agreed and broken, and Washington slapped sanctions on both the warring generals after the last attempt collapsed at the end of May, blaming them for the "appalling" bloodshed.
"Should the parties fail to observe the 24-hour ceasefire, facilitators will be compelled to consider adjourning" talks in the Saudi city of Jeddah which have been suspended since late last month, the mediators said.
Since April, fighting between the regular army and the paramilitary RSF has gripped Khartoum and the flashpoint western region of Darfur, defying a series of truces.
Upwards of 1,800 people have been killed, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, and the UN says nearly two million people have been displaced, including 476,000 who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.
The Saudi and US mediators said they "share the frustration of the Sudanese people about the uneven implementation of previous ceasefires".
"If observed, the 24-hour ceasefire will provide an important opportunity... for the parties to undertake confidence-building measures which could permit resumption of the Jeddah talks," the statement said.
Yesterday's announcement comes a day after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he held discussions on Sudan with top Saudi officials.
It also comes a day after Sudanese authorities loyal to the regular army declared UN envoy Volker Perthes "persona non grata", accusing him of taking sides. UN chief Antonio Guterres has repeatedly defended Perthes.
Witnesses yesterday reported hearing clashes near the Yarmouk weapons manufacturing depot complex in Khartoum, from where plumes of smoke were seen rising.