NEW YORK: The UN security council on Friday expressed concern over the continued fighting in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces and condemned attacks on civilians and UN and humanitarian workers, as well as on medical workers and facilities, and the looting of humanitarian aid.
In a statement issued after a meeting on Sudan late on Friday afternoon, council members called on the warring parties to grant humanitarians safe and unimpeded access across the country, in line with international law and UN principles.
According to the UN, at least 730 people have been killed and 5,500 injured since the outbreak of hostilities last month. The actual toll could be much higher.
Clashes between military leader Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan’s Sudanese Armed Forces, or SAF, and the Rapid Support Forces, or RSF, a paramilitary group led by Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, have continued across several parts of the country, including in the capital Khartoum, and in Zalingi, Central Darfur, Al-Fasher, North Darfur and Al-Obeid.
Security Council members stressed the need for an immediate ceasefire to allow for humanitarian access, and to arrange for a permanent ceasefire as well as “resume the process toward reaching a lasting, inclusive, and democratic political settlement in Sudan.”
Their statement reaffirmed the council’s support of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan, or UNITAMS, and urged its continued engagement in the war-ravaged country.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday rejected a request from Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan to remove his office’s special envoy, Volker Perthes, who serves as the special representative for Sudan and head of UNITAMS. Guterres said that the Security Council had the final say on the fate of the mission.
The 15-member body, tasked with the maintenance of international peace and security, underscored the need for “strengthened international coordination and continued collaboration,” and reiterated its support for African Union, or AU, efforts to establish mechanisms to address the conflict.
They also welcomed UN and Arab League efforts toward a viable peace process and the resumption of the transition to democracy in Sudan. They also backed the AU Roadmap toward those goals.
The Security Council statement welcomed the May 11 signature in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, by the SAF and RSF, of the Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan — or the “Jeddah Declaration” — and called on both parties to implement its provisions.
Council members encouraged international support for the 2020 Juba Peace Agreement, which “remains binding for all its signatories (and) must be implemented in full, in particular its provisions on a permanent ceasefire in Darfur.”
The statement concluded by reaffirming the Security Council’s “strong commitment to the sovereignty, unity, independence, and territorial integrity of the Republic of Sudan in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principle of good neighborliness, non-interference and regional cooperation.”