In the turbulent landscape of West Asia, where conflict seems to be an enduring reality, a glimmer of hope emerges from a proposed diplomatic plan.
US State Secretary Antony Blinken spoke with Sudanese Armed Forces’ Commander General Abdel Fattah al Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) Commander General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, calling for the ceasefire to permit the delivery of humanitarian assistance, the US State Department said.
“Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke separately today with General Abdel Fattah al Burhan, Commander of the Sudanese Armed Forces, and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, Commander of the Rapid Support Forces, and underscored the urgency of reaching a ceasefire to permit the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those affected by the fighting, the reunification of Sudanese families, and allow the international community in Khartoum to make sure its presence is secure,” said Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel in a statement on Monday (local time).
“The Secretary expressed his grave concern about the death and injury of so many Sudanese civilians due to the sustained, indiscriminate fighting, and stressed the responsibility of the two generals to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians, diplomatic personnel, and humanitarian workers,” it added.
The death toll from fighting between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has reached 180 and over 1,800 civilians and combatants were injured, The New York Times reported.
According to NYT, the fighting has left many of the five million residents of the capital, Khartoum, stranded at home without electricity or water as they marked the last few days of Ramzan, the Muslim holy month when many fast daily from dawn until dusk.
Overwhelmed medical facilities have been targeted, including a major medical centre northeast of Khartoum that was shelled, evacuated and shut down. More than a dozen hospitals have shuttered, according to NYT.
The European Union’s ambassador to Sudan, Aidan O’Hara, was assaulted in his residency in Khartoum on Monday afternoon, the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell Fontelles, said on Twitter.
It was not immediately known who attacked him, but a spokeswoman for the bloc said the ambassador was “fine.”
It was still not clear who, if anyone, was in control of the country. The clashes, which erupted on Saturday, have pitted a paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces against the Sudanese Army, a longstanding rivalry between Sudan’s two top generals who have been vying for dominance, according to NYT.