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UN Security Council calls for Sudan Ramadan ceasefire

The fighting in Sudan has been raging since April 15, 2023
The fighting in Sudan has been raging since April 15, 2023 - Copyright AFP Kena Betancur
The fighting in Sudan has been raging since April 15, 2023 - Copyright AFP Kena Betancur

The United Nations Security Council called Friday for a ceasefire in Sudan to coincide with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as conditions in the country continue to deteriorate.

Fourteen countries backed the resolution, proposed by Britain, with only Russia abstaining on the vote that called on “all parties to the conflict to seek a sustainable resolution to the conflict through dialogue.”

Fighting has been raging in Sudan since April 15, 2023, pitting the army of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan against the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, the former number two in the military establishment.

It has left thousands dead and millions displaced.

The text seen by AFP calls on all sides to adopt an immediate “cessation of hostilities” ahead of Ramadan, a time for fasting, prayer and reflection for Muslims worldwide.

It also calls on the warring parties to allow “unhindered” humanitarian access across borders and battle lines. 

Sudan’s ambassador to the UN said Burhan had welcomed the initiative, but questioned how a ceasefire could be enforced should RSF forces continue to attack “civilian” areas.

At a Security Council meeting on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for “all parties in Sudan to honor the values of Ramadan by honoring a Ramadan cessation of hostilities.” 

“This cessation of hostilities must lead to a definitive silencing of the guns across the country, and set out a firm path towards lasting peace for the Sudanese people,” he added.

Guterres warned of a humanitarian crisis of “colossal proportions.” 

– ‘Road to famine’ –

Britain subsequently announced it would seek the resolution echoing his appeal.

Russia said Britain’s initiative was hypocritical since the Security Council had failed to call for an immediate ceasefire in the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza, because of Washington repeatedly wielding its veto.

Humanitarian access in Sudan needs to be improved whether or not a ceasefire is declared, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said Friday.

He complained that his teams faced “quite extraordinary problems of access” and called on all sides to come to the table for talks. 

The conflict has now displaced 8.3 million people, 1.7 million of whom have fled abroad, he added. 

Half of the country’s 50 million people are in need of humanitarian aid, and “just under 18 million people are on the road to famine,” Griffiths said, adding that 10 million more people “are in the category of food insecure than the same time last year.” 

To prevent further deterioration, more food needs to be brought in, along with seeds to plant for future harvests, he added. 

The UN’s $2.7 billion humanitarian response plan for Sudan in 2024 is currently only 4 percent funded.

“We have no money,” Griffiths said, and “we want to put Sudan on the map.”

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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