UN Secretary-General Urges Warring Parties in Sudan to End Fighting and Resume Negotiations

Deadly Conflict in Sudan Threatens Regional Stability and Humanitarian Crisis

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres briefed the Security Council on the situation in Sudan on 25 April 2023, expressing his deep concern over the deadly conflict that has been raging for 10 days. He said that at least 450 people have been killed, including four members of the UN family, and more than 4,000 have been injured. Tens of thousands have fled their homes, seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.

UN Secretary

He described the reports from Khartoum as devastating, with people trapped indoors, terrified, with dwindling supplies of food, water, medicines and fuel. Health services are near collapse, and several hospitals are being used by armed groups. He warned that a prolonged, full-scale war is unbearable to contemplate, as it would have dire consequences for the region and the world.

He said that Sudan borders seven countries, all of which have either been involved in conflict or seen serious civil unrest over the past decade. It is also a gateway to the Sahel, where insecurity and political instability are making an already catastrophic humanitarian situation even worse. Across the wider region, poverty and hunger are rampant. The climate emergency, the global cost of living crisis, and soaring levels of debt are taking a terrible toll. In some places, humanitarian aid is all that is keeping famine at bay.

He said that the power struggle in Sudan is not only putting that country’s future at risk, but also lighting a fuse that could detonate across borders, causing immense suffering for years, and setting development back for decades.

Ceasefire Must Be Respected and Negotiations Must Resume

The Secretary-General called on all parties to the conflict, namely Generals Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo “Hemedti”, and the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces, to silence the guns. He said that it is incumbent on Sudanese leaders to put the interests of their people front and centre. He stressed that this conflict will not, and must not, be resolved on the battlefield – with the bodies of Sudan’s people.

He urged all parties to respect the 72-hour ceasefire brokered by the United States on 24 April 2023 and to establish a permanent cessation of hostilities. He also urged them to return to the negotiating table immediately, as the only way to resolve their differences peacefully. He said that the Sudanese people have made their wishes very clear: they want peace and the restoration of civilian rule through the transition to democracy.

He commended the efforts of various partners, including several present at the Security Council meeting, who are working to support peace in Sudan. He also thanked the governments of Chad, Egypt and South Sudan for hosting refugees and returnees from Sudan. He said that the UN stands with the Sudanese people and will continue to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to those in need.

UN Mission in Sudan Remains Committed Despite Challenges

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), Volker Perthes, also briefed the Security Council on the situation in Sudan. He reported that the ceasefire was still holding in some parts of the country, but both sides have accused each other of violations. He said that the situation in Darfur remains volatile and fighting has resumed in some regions. Other areas are hosting thousands of internally displaced people.

He said that nearly 1,200 people, including 744 UN staff and diplomatic employees, have been relocated to Port Sudan due to security concerns. However, he stressed that this does not mean that the UN is abandoning Sudan. He said that UNITAMS will keep a reduced presence in Khartoum and other locations, while ensuring its core functions: supporting a sustained ceasefire with a monitoring mechanism; facilitating a return to political negotiations; and alleviating human suffering.

He appealed to all parties to respect international humanitarian law and human rights law, and to ensure safe and unhindered access for humanitarian workers. He also called for an end to attacks on civilians, especially women and children, who bear the brunt of the violence. He said that UNITAMS will continue to work closely with other UN entities, regional organizations and international partners to support peace and stability in Sudan.

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