Sudanese conflicting parties reach agreement to protect civilians in Jeddah talks
The Sudanese Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have promised to protect civilians and achieve a short-term ceasefire to facilitate emergency humanitarian assistance, as they signed the Jeddah Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan.
In response to various parties' concern over the humanitarian needs in Sudan, the conflicting parties signed the declaration in the Saudi port city of Jeddah on Thursday after talks since Saturday, vowing to "achieve a short-term ceasefire to facilitate the delivery of emergency humanitarian assistance and restoration of essential services."
An effective ceasefire of up to approximately ten days is expected to facilitate humanitarian activities, and further discussions aiming at a permanent cessation of hostilities are scheduled, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud on Friday tweeted that the talks and the declaration of commitment to protecting civilians came as a first step and other steps will follow. The most important thing is to adhere to what was agreed upon, and Saudi Arabia will work until security and stability return to Sudan and its people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday has verified 30 attacks on health facilities in Khartoum and across Sudan.
Establishing safe routes for humanitarian aid is critical and 70 percent of health facilities in areas affected by fighting are out of service, the WHO said, adding that "we have managed to deliver a significant quantity of supplies to Port Sudan, but unless these supplies can be distributed to health facilities, they are of no use."
Catherine Russell, executive director of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), in a press release Thursday said the brutal conflict in Sudan has exacted a devastating toll on the country's children, with thousands having experienced deeply traumatic events or been driven from their homes in search of relative safety.
Expressing concerns over the children amid the conflicts, she said "their situation remains precarious, and continued support and assistance from the international community and humanitarian partners are critical."
UNICEF also warned that the rainy season is expected to heighten access challenges and increase disease risks. In addition, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Thursday that the fighting in Sudan, which causes food, water, fuel and cash shortages in some regions, triggers almost fourfold price hikes.
More than 164,000 people have sought refuge across borders since the outbreak of the military conflict in Sudan on April 15, according to the UN Refugee Agency. The International Organization for Migration estimates some 736,000 people are newly internally displaced within Sudan since the start of the conflict. Almost 3.8 million people were displaced within Sudan prior to the outbreak of violence.
The deadly clashes have left at least 550 people dead and 4,926 others wounded, according to the figures released by the Sudanese Health Ministry in early May.