Sudanese warring parties throw cold water on African mediation gains

  • World
  • Monday, 11 Dec 2023

FILE PHOTO: Families escaping Ardamata in West Darfur cross into Adre, Chad, after a wave of ethnic violence, November 7, 2023. REUTERS/El Tayeb Siddig/File Photo

CAIRO (Reuters) - The Sudanese army and the rival paramilitary force it has been fighting for eight months have both cast doubt on an announcement by regional mediators that they had committed to a ceasefire and political dialogue.

IGAD, a grouping of East African nations, has sought along with the United States and Saudi Arabia to mediate an end to the conflict which has killed more than 12,000 people, displaced more than 6.5 million, and severely hit Sudan's economy.

IGAD had said on Sunday that army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Rapid Support Forces leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo had agreed to meet for the first time since the outbreak of fighting as well as a proposal for an unconditional ceasefire.

But in a statement on Sunday, the army-aligned foreign ministry said it did not recognise the IGAD statement as it did not incorporate notes it had made, in particular that the meeting with Dagalo was conditional on a permanent ceasefire and withdrawal of RSF troops from the capital Khartoum.

Meanwhile, the RSF said its acceptance of the meeting was on condition that Burhan did not attend in his capacity of head of state, a post he has held since 2019, when the army and RSF worked together to oust long-ruling strongman Omar al-Bashir.

The army, which regards the war as a rebellion by the RSF, is unlikely to accept such a stipulation.

Talks led by Saudi Arabia and the United States had adjourned earlier this month with no progress made on previously agreed confidence-building measures or a ceasefire.

(Reporting by Nafisa Eltahir in Cairo and Khalid Abdelaziz in Dubai, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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