Published: 2023-05-22 13:01
Last Updated: 2023-06-05 13:41
Air strikes and artillery exchanges shook the Sudanese capital Saturday and armed men ransacked the Qatari embassy as the country's warring generals kept up their struggle for control even as they agreed to a brief humanitarian pause.
With heavy fighting raging in Khartoum, the rival sides struck a deal on a seven-day ceasefire beginning the evening of May 22, the United States and Saudi Arabia said Saturday in a joint statement after talks in Jeddah.
The ceasefire "shall remain in effect for seven days and may be extended with the agreement of both parties," it said.
Multiple announced truces have been violated since fighting broke out five weeks ago, which the Saudi foreign ministry acknowledged in a statement published by the official Saudi Press Agency early Sunday.
"Unlike previous ceasefires, the Agreement reached in Jeddah was signed by the parties and will be supported by a US-Saudi and international-supported ceasefire monitoring mechanism," it said.
It said subsequent talks "will focus on additional steps necessary to improve security and humanitarian conditions for civilians such as vacating forces from urban centers, including civilian homes, accelerating removal of impediments to the free movement of civilians and humanitarian actors, and enabling public servants to resume their regular duties."
The power struggle between regular army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy turned rival Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who heads the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), erupted into fighting on April 15.
The conflict has killed hundreds of people, most of them civilians, and displaced more than one million.
The United Nations has warned of a fast-deteriorating humanitarian situation in Africa's third-largest country, where one in three people already relied on aid before the war.
Saturday's ceasefire announcement comes two weeks after representatives of the warring generals first gathered in Jeddah for talks.
By May 11 they had signed a commitment to respect humanitarian principles and allow in badly needed aid.
But UN aid chief Martin Griffiths told AFP on Thursday that there had been "important and egregious" violations of that agreement, which fell short of a ceasefire.