Jeddah, 22 May 2023 (TDI): In a joint effort, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America have announced a significant development in the ongoing conflict in Sudan. Representatives from the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces have signed an Agreement on a Short-Term Ceasefire and Humanitarian Arrangements.
In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a significant signing ceremony was held on Saturday, May 20, with the primary aim of urgently relieving the suffering of the Sudanese people. This important event was dedicated to addressing the extensive weeks of hardship endured by the population as a direct result of the devastating conflict.
The ceasefire is scheduled to commence tonight at 09:45 p.m., as per Khartoum time. The Agreement establishes a temporary ceasefire that will be upheld for a duration of seven days. It is worth noting that the agreement allows for the possibility of extension if all parties involved reach a mutual consensus.
The primary focus of the ceasefire agreement is to enable the delivery and distribution of humanitarian assistance, as well as the restoration of essential services. Additionally, the parties have agreed to withdraw forces from hospitals and vital public facilities. The facilitation of safe passage for humanitarian actors and commodities is also emphasized, allowing unimpeded flow of goods from entry ports to populations in need.
One notable difference from previous ceasefire announcements is the presence of a U.S.-Saudi and internationally supported ceasefire monitoring mechanism, which will lend credibility and oversight to the implementation of the agreement.
Jeddah discussions are expected to focus on enhancing security, improving the humanitarian situation, and enabling the resumption of public servants’ regular duties. This includes the withdrawal of forces from urban areas, including civilian homes, and removing obstacles to civilian movement and humanitarian work.
It is important to highlight that the Jeddah talks primarily address the immediate need to halt the fighting and alleviate the suffering of the Sudanese people. They are not a political process but rather a crucial step towards achieving a lasting ceasefire.
Subsequent negotiations are expected to address the path to a permanent cessation of hostilities. The hope is for Sudanese civilian stakeholders to take leadership, supported by the regional and international community, in engaging in a political process that will lead to the resumption of a democratic transition and the formation of a civilian government.
Considering the brutality of the conflict, it is acknowledged that previous ceasefire agreements have been violated. However, with the signing of this Agreement in Jeddah, there is renewed hope for progress.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States stand in solidarity with the Sudanese people and urge all parties involved to fully uphold their commitments under this humanitarian ceasefire.