Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Blinken urges ceasefire in calls with Sudan warring generals

At least 185 people have been killed and 1,800 injured in the fighting, UN mediator Volker Perthes said on Monday.

• April 18, 2023
Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo
Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday called for a ceasefire in separate conversations with the two Sudanese generals whose power struggle has resulted in the deaths of nearly 200 people in recent days.

Mr Blinken spoke with Sudan’s military leader and de facto president, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, the leader of a Sudanese paramilitary group, US State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said in a statement.

The conflict which has broken out in recent days follows a protracted power struggle between the army led by Mr al-Burhan and the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by his deputy, Mr Daglo.

At least 185 people have been killed and 1,800 injured in the fighting, UN mediator Volker Perthes said on Monday.

In separate calls with the rivals, Mr Blinken “underscored the urgency of reaching a ceasefire to permit the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those affected by the fighting, the reunification of Sudanese families, and allow the international community in Khartoum to make sure its presence is secure,” said the State Department statement.

Mr Blinken, who is currently at G7 talks in Japan, also “stressed the responsibility of the two generals to ensure the safety and wellbeing of civilians, diplomatic personnel, and humanitarian workers,” added the statement.

Mr Daglo said he had a “vital conversation” with Blinken in which the two “discussed pressing issues in Sudan and our shared dedication to freedom, justice, and democracy for our people.”

Heavy fighting began at the weekend causing concern worldwide that the situation could lead to civil war.

Mr Daglo, who has been accused of serious human rights abuses in the past, on Monday appealed to international support as he accused Mr al-Burhan of being “a radical Islamist who is bombing civilians from the air.”

Mr Al-Burhan has not spoken publicly since Saturday afternoon, when he accused the RSF of an attack and stressed that he had the situation under control.

In 2019, Messrs Daglo and al-Burhan overthrew the long-term dictator Omar al-Bashir after public civil protests.

The two took power again in 2021 from a civilian government that had been installed in the meantime. 


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