Saudi Arabia and the United States announced the start of preliminary talks between representatives of the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces in Jeddah today (Saturday), despite the continued violation of the declared truce by both sides. This is the first time that talks have taken place between them since the outbreak of war on April 15. These talks come as part of a diplomatic initiative sponsored by Saudi Arabia and the United States to stop the fighting that has turned the three capital cities into a bloody battlefield.
Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan welcomed the presence of representatives of the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces in the city of Jeddah, for a dialogue about the situation in their homeland. He said in a tweet on Twitter: He hopes that the dialogue between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces that is taking place in the city of Jeddah will lead to an end The conflict, the launch of the political process, and the return of security and stability to Sudan. He added that hosting the Sudanese dialogue comes as a result of international solidarity and took place with unremitting efforts with America and in partnership with the countries of the Quartet and the partners of the tripartite mechanism.
Today, a Saudi-American statement urged both parties to sense their responsibilities towards the Sudanese people, to engage seriously in these talks, and to draw a road map for the talks, to stop military operations, confirm an end to the conflict, spare the Sudanese people from further suffering, and ensure that humanitarian aid reaches the affected areas. Riyadh and Washington called for the continuation of coordinated international efforts for broad negotiations, in which all Sudanese parties would participate. Representatives of the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support maintained that the Jeddah talks aim to open humanitarian corridors in Khartoum and Omdurman. According to an official in the Sudanese army, the two parties are discussing providing protection for civilian infrastructure, including health facilities that suffer from serious shortages of medicines, electricity and water.
An official in the Rapid Support Command said: The talks discuss setting up a mechanism to monitor the ceasefire, while a spokesman for the pro-democracy civil movement said that the talks are a first step towards stopping the country’s collapse. He appealed to the leaders of the two conflicting factions for a clear decision to end the conflict.
Hamidti, in a tweet on Twitter, welcomed the Saudi-American initiative aimed at achieving a cease-fire and opening humanitarian corridors. “We remain hopeful that the talks will achieve their desired goals,” he said.
The Associated Press reported that it had spoken to two military officials and a Rapid Support officer, and they confirmed that there was no time limit for the Jeddah talks. The RSF official said the talks were taking place under the auspices of Saudi and American officials. And the Saudi Press Agency stated that US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken discussed the initiative in a phone call with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan. A statement by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated that the Saudi-American initiative aims to pave the way for dialogue leading to a reduction in tensions in Sudan. US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that Blinken and Minister Faisal bin Farhan stressed the intensive cooperation between their countries at the diplomatic level to put an end to the fighting in Sudan.
The UN representative in Sudan, Volker Peretz, considered the talks a “positive sign”. But he cautioned against expecting big results. He added that the talks are a positive sign that the two sides have become more realistic, after it became clear to them that there will be no easy victory. He added: We have to realize that this is the first meeting between the two parties. The meeting in Jeddah may be more exploratory than a solid meeting. Peretz made it clear that achieving a permanent cease-fire would require holding more than one meeting. The Saudi-American initiative is the first concrete international effort to end the Sudan war.
Yesterday, residents of the three cities of the capital spoke of the continued sound of heavy artillery, anti-tank guns, and aircraft in parts of Khartoum, Khartoum North, and Omdurman. It is believed that Sudan will be at the center of talks expected to be held by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan with Saudi officials during his visit to the Kingdom this weekend.