Call for Peace: UN Appeals to Halt Hostilities in Sudan Before Ramadan

UN Appeals to Halt Hostilities in Sudan Before Ramadan
FILE PHOTO: A man walks while smoke rises above buildings after aerial bombardment, during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army in Khartoum North, Sudan, May 1, 2023. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo

U.N. Appeals to Halt Hostilities in Sudan Before Ramadan

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council issued a strong plea urging the conflicting factions in Sudan to immediately cease hostilities during the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The primary objective is to facilitate the delivery of crucial aid to approximately 25 million people facing desperate conditions and needing food and other essential assistance.

The commencement of Ramadan is expected to occur around Monday, contingent on the sighting of the crescent moon. The Security Council, comprising 15 members, voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution drafted by Britain. Fourteen nations supported the answer, with Russia being the sole member abstaining from the vote.

Sudan plunged into chaos in April, triggered by longstanding tensions between the military, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary, commanded by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo. Street battles erupted in Khartoum’s capital, spreading violence throughout the country. In Sudan’s western Darfur region, the conflict assumed a different dimension, marked by brutal attacks by the Arab-dominated Rapid Support Forces against ethnic African civilians, resulting in thousands of casualties.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in a Thursday appeal, urged both sides to observe a cease-fire during Ramadan, emphasizing the potential threat the nearly year-long conflict poses to Sudan’s unity and its potential to spark regional instability. The African Union also endorsed a cessation of hostilities during the holy month.

While Gen. Burhan welcomed the U.N. chief’s appeal, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry outlined specific conditions for an effective cease-fire on Friday. Notably, the Rapid Support Forces have yet to respond to the plea.

The Security Council’s resolution reflects “grave concern over the spreading violence and the catastrophic and deteriorating humanitarian situation, including crisis levels, or worse, of acute food insecurity, particularly in Darfur.” Britain’s deputy U.N. ambassador, James Kariuki, implored the armed forces and Rapid Support Forces to heed the international call for peace and to cease hostilities.

In addition to calling for an immediate halt to fighting, the Security Council urged the conflicting parties to pursue a sustainable resolution through dialogue. Kariuki emphasized the importance of building trust and working towards restoring peace in Sudan. According to the U.N. humanitarian office, the conflict has forcibly displaced 8.3 million people, with half of Sudan’s 51 million population requiring aid and 70% to 80% of health facilities non-functional. The situation underscores the urgent need for a comprehensive and lasting solution to the crisis.


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