Sudan: Fighting continues in Khartoum as envoys meet in Saudi Arabia
Fighting could be heard in south Khartoum on Sunday as envoys from Sudan’s warring parties met in Saudi Arabia for talks, Reuters reported.
The US-Saudi initiative is the first serious attempt to end fighting between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
“Pre-negotiation” talks began on Saturday and “will continue in the coming days in the expectation of reaching an effective short-term ceasefire to facilitate humanitarian assistance,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia will allocate $100 million in humanitarian aid to Sudan, Saudi state-run Al Ekhbariya television said earlier on Sunday.
Battles since mid-April have killed hundreds of people and wounded thousands of others, disrupted aid supplies and sent 100,000 refugees fleeing abroad.
Manahil Salah, a 28-year-old laboratory doctor on an evacuation flight from Port Sudan to the United Arab Emirates, said her family hid for three days in their home close to army headquarters in the capital before eventually travelling to the Red Sea Coast.
“Yes, I am happy to survive,” she said. “But I feel deep sadness because I left my mother and father behind in Sudan, and sad because all this pain is happening in my homeland.”
Thousands of people are pushing to leave from Port Sudan on boats to Saudi Arabia, paying for expensive commercial flights through the country’s only functioning airport, or using evacuation flights.
While mediators are seeking a path to peace, both sides have made it clear they would only discuss a humanitarian truce, not negotiate an end to the war.
The US and Saudi Arabia urged the warring parties to use the latest talks to move toward “scheduling subsequent expanded negotiations to achieve a permanent cessation of hostilities,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry statement said.
The conflict started on April 15 following the collapse of an internationally backed plan for a transition to democracy.
Burhan, a career army officer, heads a ruling council installed after the 2019 ouster of long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir and a 2021 military coup, while Hemedti, a former militia leader who made his name in the Darfur conflict, is his deputy.