The head of the United Nations in Sudan reiterated his call for the Sudanese warring parties to stop fighting and engage in a genuine dialogue. Efforts are being made to engage representatives of the military and the rapid support forces to meet for the first time in a third country.
Volker Perthes, who leads the United Nations Integrated Transitional Assistance Mission in Sudan, or UNITAMS, said a genuine dialogue is the only way resolve any grievances that led to the ongoing fighting.
“Up to this moment, there is no direct talks going on, but we are at the preparation stage for talks between the two parties,” Perthes said. “Some regional and international countries are engaging the two sides for these talks. We fully support these efforts, and I personally are in [and] continue direct communication with the two sides.”
More than 500 civilians and fighters have been killed and over 4,000 others injured since the fighting erupted more than two weeks ago.
The warring parties have announced a series of cease-fires, but none held for long.
The humanitarian situation in the country continues to deteriorate as more than two-thirds of hospitals in areas of active fighting are shut down due to attacks and a lack of medical supplies, staff, water and electricity.
Perthes insisted any cease-fire must be observed by both sides.
“We need to step in and help the situation out,” he said. “Citizens need to come out of their homes and hospitals are in need of medical supplies. In order to realize all these, we need a true and effective cease-fire, not only making [the] announcement.”
Most humanitarian aid agencies and organizations suspended their operations in Khartoum and evacuated their staff outside of Sudan.
Perthes said he and other diplomatic missions have relocated “temporarily” to Port Sudan in hopes that some semblance of normalcy returns to the capital.
“Most of them have left the country temporarily,” he said. “And I insist on the word “temporarily” because we would like to go back to Khartoum when the security situation allows us to do so.”
The Rapid Support Forces announced Sunday evening yet another 72-hour cease-fire in response to the regional and international calls.
The Civil Aviation Authority in Sudan has issued a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) that extends the closure of Sudanese airspace to all air traffic until May 13, with exception of humanitarian aid flights and evacuation flights for foreign nationals.
Those flights require a permit from the civil aviation authority and the approval of the Sudanese armed forces.