Resuming the army and rapid support talks on Sunday… and inviting Al-Burhan to attend the Arab summit

Resuming the army and rapid support talks on Sunday… and inviting Al-Burhan to attend the Arab summit
Resuming the army and rapid support talks on Sunday… and inviting Al-Burhan to attend the Arab summit

A senior Saudi diplomat, whose name was not mentioned by Reuters, said on Saturday that representatives of the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces will resume talks on how to implement plans to deliver humanitarian aid and withdraw forces from civilian areas on Sunday.

The Saudi diplomat confirmed that representatives of the two parties will remain in the Saudi city of Jeddah to start the next phase of negotiations after an agreement signed, Thursday, regarding the plan to protect civilians.

The Saudi diplomat revealed that his country had invited the commander of the Sudanese army, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, to the Arab League summit scheduled for May 19 in Jeddah.

Two other Gulf diplomats said that although al-Burhan was invited to attend the Jeddah summit, he is not expected to leave Sudan, for “security reasons.”

The Saudi diplomat indicated that the invitation to Al-Burhan came because he is the head of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, which was supposed to supervise a transition to civil rule that was planned before the fighting broke out.

“We have not yet received the names of the delegations, but we expect the presence of those representing Sudan at the summit,” the Saudi diplomat added.

Al-Burhan is now facing in the conflict his deputy in the presidency of the Council, the commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Lieutenant General Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo, known as “Hemedti”.

The talks then touch on ways to end the fighting, eventually paving the way for a civilian government to take over. “The nature of the conflict affects the dialogue, however, I find a very good spirit on both sides,” the Saudi diplomat said.

On Friday, the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, was subjected to air and artillery bombardment, after the army and the Rapid Support Forces failed to agree on a ceasefire despite their commitment to protecting civilians and allowing the passage of humanitarian aid.

He signed a so-called declaration of principles in Saudi Arabia late Thursday, after nearly a week of talks between the two sides.

The agreement reached on Thursday, the product of Saudi- and US-brokered talks in Jeddah, included commitments to allow safe passage for civilians, medics and humanitarian relief, and to minimize harm to civilians and public facilities.

Since the sudden outbreak of clashes on April 15, neither side has shown little willingness to end the fighting that has killed hundreds of thousands and could plunge Sudan into an all-out civil war.

The two sides issued statements on Friday accusing each other of harming civilians and turning a blind eye to the humanitarian needs of the population.

Neither side has publicly shown any sign of willingness to make concessions, and fighting has continued between them during previous truces.

Although the Rapid Support Forces promised to support Thursday’s agreement, the army has not yet commented on it.

There were no indications of the ability of either side to achieve a quick victory, as the Rapid Support Forces were stationed in residential neighborhoods around the capital, while the army was able to call in the air force.

The fighting paralyzed the Sudanese economy and stifled trade, exacerbating the huge humanitarian crisis.

On Friday, the United Nations said that 200,000 people have been displaced so far to neighboring countries, while more than 700,000 Sudanese have been internally displaced.

The World Health Organization stated that at least 600 were killed and more than 5,000 were wounded in the fighting, but it is likely that the real numbers are much higher.

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