The truce agreement, according to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, was achieved after two days of intensive negotiations and is set to commence on Tuesday.
As Western, Arab, and Asian nations rush to evacuate their citizens from Sudan, the US has announced that the warring factions in the country have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken confirmed on Monday that the truce deal was the result of two days of intense negotiations and is scheduled to commence on Tuesday. It should be noted that previous temporary truce agreements between the two sides have not been fully upheld in the past week.
Since April 15, clashes between Sudan’s armed forces and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have resulted in a death toll of at least 427, causing destruction to hospitals, services, and residential areas. In response, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has called on both the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and RSF to immediately and fully uphold the ceasefire, while also stating that the United States will collaborate with regional and international partners, as well as Sudanese civilian stakeholders, to achieve a lasting resolution to the conflict.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also expressed concern over the escalating violence in Sudan, a country that is strategically located at the Red Sea, Horn of Africa, and Sahel regions. Guterres warned that the situation could potentially ignite a catastrophic conflagration that could spread across the entire region and beyond. He further urged the 15 members of the UN Security Council to leverage their influence to guide Sudan back to the path of democratic transition after the 2021 military coup that followed the ousting of long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir in a popular uprising.
“We must make every effort to prevent Sudan from descending into further chaos. We stand in solidarity with the people of Sudan during this dire situation,” stated Guterres, who has authorized the temporary relocation of certain UN personnel and their families.
The UN Security Council has scheduled a meeting on Sudan for Tuesday, highlighting the urgency of the situation and the need for international attention and action.
Flurry of evacuation missions
Numerous evacuation missions have been conducted in response to the escalating crisis in Sudan. Tens of thousands of people, including Sudanese nationals and citizens from neighboring countries, have fled in recent days, seeking refuge in Egypt, Chad, and South Sudan, despite the challenging living conditions and instability.
Over the weekend, at least two convoys involved in evacuations came under fire, with diplomats and aid workers targeted in attacks, resulting in the loss of lives. However, the fighting temporarily subsided, allowing the US and the United Kingdom to evacuate embassy staff and triggering a rush of evacuations by various countries, including Gulf Arab states, Russia, Japan, and South Korea.
South Africa has also commenced evacuating its citizens, while France has arranged for the evacuation of 491 individuals from 36 different nationalities, including 196 French citizens. A French warship has been dispatched to Port Sudan to assist in further evacuations. Additionally, Germany has utilized four air force planes to evacuate over 400 people of various nationalities from Sudan as of Monday.
Several countries have deployed military planes from Djibouti to transport individuals out of Khartoum, including to Port Sudan, where some have boarded ships bound for Saudi Arabia. Photographs have shown families with children boarding Spanish and French military transport planes, while a group of nuns was among the evacuees on an Italian aircraft.
Scarce food, electricity, water
The situation in Sudan, Africa’s third-largest country, remains dire for those who have been unable to evacuate. Even before the violence erupted, a third of the country’s 46 million population needed aid. The remaining population is facing acute shortages of food, clean water, medicines, and fuel, with limited access to communications and electricity. Prices have skyrocketed, exacerbating the already dire conditions. Reports of looting of humanitarian supplies and warehouses have emerged, and “intense fighting” in various regions, including Khartoum, Darfur, Blue Nile, North Kordofan, and Northern states, is impeding relief operations, according to UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq.