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Sudan's cease-fire talks suffer setback

Updated: 2023-06-02 10:06

Vendors sell fish at a market in Khartoum, Sudan, on Wednesday amid continued fighting between the two rival factions. AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

KHARTOUM — Sudan's military suspended its participation in talks with the paramilitary force it's been battling for weeks for control of the northeastern African country, a military spokesman said on Wednesday.

The development was a blow to the international mediation efforts.

Brigadier Nabil Abdalla, a spokesman for the Sudanese armed forces, told The Associated Press that the move is a protest against the Rapid Support Forces' "repeated violations" of the humanitarian cease-fire, including their continued occupation of hospitals and other infrastructure in the capital, Khartoum.

The negotiations with the Rapid Support Forces, or RSF, which began in early May, had produced a declaration of commitments to protect civilians and two short-term truce agreements.

Sudan descended into chaos after fighting erupted in mid-April between the military and the RSF.The fighting has killed at least 866 civilians and wounded thousands more, according to the Sudanese Doctors' Syndicate.

Abdalla, the spokesman, said the military wants to ensure the terms of a US-Saudi-brokered truce "be fully implemented" before discussing further steps. He did not elaborate.

Responding to the military's move, the RSF said it "unconditionally backs the Saudi-US initiative".

Two other senior military officials said the army sent a letter to the Saudi and US mediators detailing what they called the RSF violations. They said the military delegation was still at the venue of the talks in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that both sides in the conflict had violated their commitments to a cease-fire and warned that Washington was looking at what steps it could take to make its views clear.

More than 1.2 million people were displaced from their homes, UN humanitarian officials said on Wednesday.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the International Organization for Migration based its tally on preliminary reports from field teams, while figures on additional displaced are likely to emerge as humanitarian access improves.

Agencies - Xinhua

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