Despite the United States-Saudi Arabia-brokered truce talks in Jeddah over the weekend between the two warring factions in Sudan, the Sudanese capital witnessed air strikes on Monday (May 8).
There has been no official word on the talks that began on Saturday between the Sudanese army and the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). This comes as both sides have broken several ceasefires since the conflict began last month.
Army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, on Monday, said that the army is looking for a peaceful solution but that there could be discussions about a lasting settlement. However, it is only possible “after we reach a permanent ceasefire in Khartoum.”
He added, “We believe the peaceful solution is the ideal route to handle this crisis,” as quoted by Reuters. This comes as the two sides are holding discussions in Jeddah over a ceasefire and humanitarian issues like safe passage. The US-Saudi Arabia brokered talks have also been dubbed as the “pre-negotiation talks” by the two countries.
A Saudi diplomat source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that both sides consider themselves “capable of winning the battle”. As of Monday, the source also told the news agency that the discussions had yielded “no major progress,” adding that a “permanent ceasefire isn’t on the table”.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said that they are pushing to expand negotiations and reach a “permanent cessation of hostilities”. The talks in Jeddah, which are “set to continue
“in the following days”, aim to reach “an effective short-term halt” to the hostilities while also facilitating aid delivery and restoring basic services.
Media reports, on Monday, indicate that sound of air strikes and clashes echoed anew across the capital city. A southern Khartoum resident told AFP that their family could hear “the sound of airstrikes which appeared to come from near a market in central Khartoum”.
According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, so far, over 750 people have been killed while more than 5,000 have been injured, across Sudan amid the ongoing fighting. Meanwhile, the United Nations said, almost 200 people have been killed in West Darfur state over the past two weeks. There was also an incident of “large-scale” looting at the World Food Programme in Khartoum over the weekend, said a UN spokesperson, on Monday.
The ongoing fighting has already displaced 335,000 people and created in excess of 120,000 refugees who have fled north into Egypt, west to Chad, and to South Sudan. This comes as the UN has raised multiple warnings over the widening humanitarian crisis in Sudan.
“It’s very dangerous everywhere,” said Rawaa Hamad, who escaped from Port Sudan to Qatar on Monday. She added that in Sudan, people are witnessing “a lack of everything – a lack of water, lack of fuel, lack of medicine, lack of even hospitals and doctors,” reported AFP.
A 35-year-old government employee in Bahri, Tamader Ibrahim, told Reuters, “If the Jeddah negotiations fail to stop the war this would mean that we won’t be able to return to our homes and our lives. We’re waiting on these negotiations because they’re our only hope.”