Sudan warring parties agree 24-hour ceasefire

Sudan peace

This screen grab from the Saudi TV channel Al-Ekhbariya, shows representatives of Sudan's army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) signing an agreement in Jeddah, on May 11, 2023. Sudan's warring parties have agreed to a 24-hour ceasefire.

Photo credit: Al-Ekhbariya | AFP

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia  

 Sudan's warring parties have agreed to a 24-hour ceasefire from Saturday, according to a joint statement by US and Saudi mediators who have brokered previous abortive truces.

"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 the statement released by the Saudi foreign ministry on Friday.

Multiple ceasefires have been agreed and broken, and Washington has slapped sanctions on the two warring generals, blaming both sides 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.

Friday'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.