The Sudanese military and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have begun talks to strengthen a shaky ceasefire after three weeks of intense fighting that has left hundreds dead and pushed the country to the brink of collapse. The talks, which are being held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, are part of a diplomatic effort led by the United States and Saudi Arabia to end the conflict and alleviate the suffering of the Sudanese people.
The fighting broke out on April 15, and has turned the capital city, Khartoum, and other urban areas into battlefields. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes, and essential infrastructure, including health facilities, have been destroyed. The talks mark the first time that the Sudanese military and the RSF have come to the negotiating table since the fighting began.
The talks are expected to address several key issues, including the opening of humanitarian corridors in Khartoum and the nearby city of Omdurman, which have been at the center of the fighting. The talks will also address the need to provide protection to civilian infrastructure, including health facilities that are overwhelmed and suffering from dire shortages of staff and medical supplies.
An RSF official said that the talks will also discuss a mechanism to monitor the ceasefire, which is one of several truces that have failed to stop the fighting. The talks come after concerted efforts by Riyadh and other international powers to pressure the warring sides in Sudan to come to the negotiating table.
Meanwhile, the Sudanese pro-democracy movement has called on the military and the RSF to make a bold decision to end the conflict. The movement, which is a coalition of political parties and civil society groups, had negotiated with the military for months to restore the country’s democratic transition after a 2021 military coup led by army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan and his deputy in the council Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.
The talks in Jeddah are a crucial step towards ending the conflict in Sudan and alleviating the suffering of the Sudanese people. The international community must continue to put pressure on the warring sides to come to a peaceful resolution and provide the necessary humanitarian assistance to those affected by the fighting.