WASHINGTON – Representatives of two warring Sudanese generals are expected to meet in Saudi Arabia on Saturday to discuss the terms of a ceasefire and a mechanism for allowing humanitarian aid into the country, US, Saudi and Sudanese officials said on Friday.
The US State Department and the Saudi Foreign Ministry have helped organize the meeting, which will take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on the Red Sea off Sudan. Saudi government has been evacuation ships underway Between Jeddah and Port Sudan.
two generals A ceasefire has been agreed upon in recent days, but their troops have violated it.
Sudanese army confirmed in a post on Facebook Its delegation left for Jeddah on Friday evening to discuss “specific details of the ceasefire”, which aims to “secure and create suitable conditions to deal with the humanitarian situation of our citizens.”
A senior State Department official said that the discussions in Jeddah will not include talks on this volatile issues around the unification of the armed forces and the chain of command that led to the fighting on 15 April General Abdel Fatah al-Burhanwho controls the Sudanese military, and Lieutenant General Mohammad HamdanWho leads the paramilitary Rapid Support Force.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the delicate diplomacy, said African officials are expected to manage those talks as and when they begin. Two African institutions, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in East Africa, will play a leading role in that process.
Since the start of the conflict, Foreign Minister Antony J. Blinken and other State Department officials have been talking directly to the generals and trying to coordinate efforts with a partnership of countries with influence in Sudan called the Quad. They are the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
The State Department said on Friday that Mr Blinken had spoken to Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan about the fighting in Sudan. Mr. Blinken thanked Saudi Arabia for helping bring American citizens from Sudan to Jeddah, and the two diplomats “affirmed their countries’ intense cooperation on the diplomatic work to end the fighting in Sudan,” the State Department said. Summarized said call.
fighting in sudan At least 550 people have been killed and more than 334,000 internally displaced, according to Sudanese government figures and the United Nations. The actual number of dead is almost certainly much higher.
Sudanese citizens and officials have been working with the United States and other foreign powers to try to transition the nation from military rule to a civilian-run government with democratic elections, ever since mass protests in 2019. The reason President Omar was removed. Hassan al-Bashir, dictator of 30 years.
However, in October 2021, General al-Burhan and General Hamdan carried out a coup, reversing an infection process. Officials in the United States and other countries were working on a new agreement with the generals to get the process back on track, and diplomats had for weeks thought the generals were ready to adopt the agreement, but then began to debate how to integrate them. Force, including a timeline.
The chain of command was also an issue: General Hamdan wanted to report directly to a civilian leader, while General al-Burhan wanted General Hamdan to report to him.
A State Department official said that one of the last plans discussed before the fighting began was a proposal that the two generals retain operational control of their own forces and sit on an integration committee with a new civilian head of state. .
If the general agrees to allow a safe passage for aid into Sudan, most or all of the immediate aid will come by ship to Port Sudan and then be taken to Khartoum, the capital, and other places. The State Department official said the United States would work with the United Nations on the process.
Critics say the Biden administration should have tried to punish the two generals instead of working together after the 2021 coup. US officials say they and partners withheld economic aid and debt relief from the Sudanese government, believing this would motivate the generals to support civilian rule and a transition to democracy.
Edward Wong reported from Washington, and Abdi Latif Dahir From Nairobi, Kenya.