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Top US diplomat calls for ceasefire in Sudan as death toll nears 200

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called the leaders of two warring factions in Sudan and urged them to agree to a ceasefire as the death toll approaches 200.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement late Monday saying Blinken spoke separately with the country’s military commander, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the head of the Rapid Relief Force, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. Stated. He called for an end to the fighting to allow humanitarian assistance to be delivered to those affected by the conflict and to allow families in Sudan to reunite.

The statement urged Blinken to allow Barhan and Dagalo to allow the international community in Khartoum to “ensure its presence is safe,” and to “ensure the safety and well-being of civilians, diplomatic personnel, and humanitarian workers.” He emphasized the responsibility of the two generals to secure the

A satellite image shows a destroyed Ukrainian plane at Khartoum International Airport in Khartoum, Sudan on April 17, 2023. Provided by Maxar Technologies/Handout by REUTERS

Secretary of State Brinken’s call to two of Sudan’s rivals is one of many calls from the international community for peace in the North African country. A communiqué issued Tuesday from the G-7 foreign ministers’ meeting in Karuizawa, Japan, condemned the fighting, saying it “endangers the safety and security of Sudan’s citizens and undermines efforts to restore Sudan’s democratic transition.”

“We call on the parties to end hostilities immediately without preconditions. We urge you to take proactive measures to ensure the safety of all civilians, including,” the communiqué continued.

Both military factions fighting for control in Sudan announced gains on Monday as the death toll from the violence surpassed 180 amid calls for an immediate ceasefire from Washington, multiple international organizations and capitals around the world. claimed to have raised

Khartoum residents reported hearing fighter jets and anti-aircraft fire since Monday night, when violence between the Sudanese army and militias escalated into the third day.

A man looks at his belongings inside a damaged house during clashes between paramilitary emergency services and the army on April 17, 2023 in Khartoum, Sudan.

A man looks at his belongings inside a damaged house during clashes between paramilitary emergency services and the army on April 17, 2023 in Khartoum, Sudan.

At least 185 people have been killed and more than 1,800 injured since the fighting broke out on Saturday, Volker Perthes, UN special representative for Sudan, told reporters on Monday via video link from Khartoum.

The number of fighting casualties is likely to rise, and many of the wounded cannot go to hospitals for treatment. Sudanese doctors said the fighting had also “damaged a lot” of hospitals around the capital.

Most of the capital had no electricity or running water. The violence also affected Khartoum’s neighboring sister cities Omdurman and Bari, with the bridges connecting the two cities blocked by armored vehicles.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday again condemned the outbreak of fighting and called on the leaders of the Sudanese military and RSF militias to “immediately cease hostilities, restore calm and initiate dialogue to resolve the crisis.” ” he appealed.

“I urge all who have influence over this situation to use it for peace,” he said, adding, “The humanitarian situation in Sudan is already precarious and is now catastrophic. It is,” he added.

Two military factions vying for control of Sudan shared power during a volatile political transition. The clash is part of a power struggle between General Barhan, who is also the Chairman of the Interim Council, and General D’Agallo, also known as Hemedoti, the Vice-Chairman of the Interim Council.

John Kirby, the National Security Council’s strategic communications coordinator, told reporters on Monday that U.S. officials were “in direct communication” with both generals and “urged them to end hostilities immediately.” He added that U.S. officials are also working closely with the African Union, the Arab League and the East African bloc, the Intergovernmental Development Agency.

“We call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire between the Sudanese Army and the Rapid Relief Force,” he said. “As Secretary Brinken said this morning, the fighting is killing civilians and threatening the stability of the Sudanese nation and region.”

However, when asked by the VOA about the specific leverage the United States has to influence warring parties, Kirby said, “I’m not going to talk about specific diplomatic leverage.”

He added that all US personnel in the North African country have been accounted for and evacuated to the location. He said there are no plans to evacuate them at this time.

The RSF claimed on Monday to have occupied the airport and military base. The military claimed to have regained control of a major television station and said it had taken control of its headquarters after a brief battle there.

Fighting in Khartoum forced most people to stay indoors. Offices, schools and gas stations are closed.

In the Al-Kalakula district, south of Khartoum, the situation appeared to be relatively calm as people went out in search of basic necessities.

Wisal Mohammed, a mother of three, told VOA it was the first time in three days she had come to fetch food for her children. She said she had no electricity, no running water, and in the event of an emergency she would not be able to move.

Al-Muiz Hassan, a grocery store in the Abu Adam district south of Khartoum, feared being robbed and told VOA that it was only partially open as a precautionary measure. rice field.

“The fighting affected not just my store, but all stores,” he said.

Khartoum residents said there has been no police presence on the city’s streets since the clashes began.

The European Union said a Sudanese envoy was assaulted at his own residence on Monday, but gave no further details.

Brinken confirmed that a US diplomatic convoy opened fire on Monday, adding that initial reports indicated the attack was by forces associated with the Rapid Support Force.

Calls from around the world and within Africa, including the African Union, the Arab League and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), are calling for an end to the fighting.

IGAD said Kenyan President William Ruto, South Sudan President Salva Kiir and Djibouti President Omar Guelleh will travel to Khartoum to broker an immediate ceasefire.

“President Salva Kiir has already been in contact with both General Burhan and General Hemedi to convey the summit message.

But Sudan’s two top generals have yet to express a willingness to negotiate, with each demanding the other’s surrender.

Mr Dagalo tweeted on Monday that he defended Sudan’s democracy and called Mr Barhan a “radical Islamist”. Dagalo’s forces emerged from the notorious Janjaweed militia in the Darfur region of Sudan and have been accused of committing atrocities in the region.

The two generals are former allies who together orchestrated the October 2021 military coup that derailed the transition to civilian rule after ousting longtime leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

Tensions among the generals have increased over disagreements over how the RSF should be integrated into the military and who should oversee the process. The military restructuring was part of efforts to return the country to civilian rule and end the political crisis caused by the 2021 military coup.

Jeffrey Feltman, Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution and former Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, said: US State Department.

“What we have now is a battle for power. It’s a lust for power — who will win between these two generals,” Feltman told VOA.

Pro-democracy activists have accused both generals of committing human rights abuses.

In addition to the fighting around Khartoum, violence has also erupted in the Darfur region of western Sudan, threatening to resume decades of conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people.

The International Rescue Commission (IRC) said Monday it had halted many of its operations in Sudan because of the fighting.

In a statement, IRC Regional Vice President Kurt Tjossem said: In areas where war is ongoing. ”

The World Food Program also ceased operations in the country after the deaths of three staff members.

The African Union’s Peace and Security Council held an emergency meeting in Nairobi on Sunday to discuss the situation in Sudan. Participants appealed to the Sudanese military and his RSF leaders to defuse the conflict and restore stability.

Carol Van Dam Falk, Mariama Diallo, Margaret Besheer, Antia Powell and Nike Ching contributed to this report. Some information in this article was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

https://www.voanews.com/a/us-top-diplomat-calls-for-ceasefire-in-sudan-as-death-toll-nears-200/7055021.html Top US diplomat calls for ceasefire in Sudan as death toll nears 200

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