A senior U.N. official announced that negotiations on a ceasefire for Sudan will begin in the following day or two and discussed a shift in the positions of the warring parties that might make them more likely to uphold any future agreements.
After a week of discussions in Saudi Arabia, Sudan’s military groups agreed late on Thursday to a limited accord to protect civilians and provide humanitarian relief, but there was no commitment to peace, and combat continued on Friday.
Volker Perthes, U.N. Special Representative for Sudan, said he had spoken with one of the sides since and was assured of their willingness to keep talking.
“We expect these talks on a ceasefire to start off again from today or from tomorrow. It shouldn’t technically take too long to agree on the modalities of ceasefire,” he told a Geneva press briefing from Port Sudan.
Battles between Sudan’s army and rival paramilitary forces have killed hundreds and wounded thousands, disrupted aid supplies, sent refugees fleeing abroad and turned residential areas of Khartoum into war zones since mid-April.
Past ceasefires have not held because both sides still felt they could win, he added, noting that he had since observed a change in the parties’ stance.
“Both sides have realised that even if they win, it will not be a quick win. And that a dragged out, long war could damage the entire country and then there will not be too much to win,” he said.
“You could lose the country, even if you win the battle.”