OIC urges immediate ceasefire in Sudan

EU’s ambassador in Sudan Aidan O’Hara has been assaulted at his home in Khartoum, which is gripped by deadly fighting between rival forces…reports Asian Lite News

Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Hissein Brahim Taha has reiterated his call for an immediate ceasefire between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Sudan.

Taha made the call soon after an earlier statement in which he called for the General Command of the Sudanese Armed Forces and the RSF to stop fighting and resort to dialogue and negotiations.

The OIC secretary-general expressed deep concern about the continued fighting and violence, which killed and wounded many people in Sudan.

He warned that escalating the fight will have dire consequences for civilians and the humanitarian situation in Sudan, especially since the ongoing battles are fought in Sudanese cities.

In this regard, the OIC secretary-general stressed his organisation’s support for international efforts aimed at reaching a truce in the country with the aim of delivering humanitarian assistance and facilitating the evacuation of the injured and those stranded in areas close to the clashes.

Taha reaffirmed the necessity to return to the peaceful track and to negotiations in order to overcome the dangerous crisis that threatens Sudan’s security, integrity and unity.

Deadly unrest

Ongoing violent clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have so far killed 185 people and wounded another 1,800, a UN envoy confirmed.

Volker Perthes, head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan, briefed the Security Council in a closed-door session on the latest situation of the conflict.

“It’s a very fluid situation, so it’s very difficult to say where the balance is shifting to,” Perthes told reporters after the meeting.

He said the two sides showed no signs of being willing to negotiate.

EU envoy assaulted

A European Union ambassador was assaulted by the members of the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group inside his residence in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan on Monday afternoon, two Western officials said, according to a New York Times report.

The EU’s ambassador to Sudan, Aidan O’Hara, is a diplomat from Ireland, and was not injured after armed men barged in, threatened him at gunpoint and stole money, said the officials on the condition of anonymity for security reasons, reported New York Times. The officials added that the assailants were identified by their uniforms and because the group were controlling the nearby streets.

In a text message, a spokeswoman for the European Union said that O’Hara was doing “fine.” She, however, did not provide more details.

Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin described the attack as a “gross violation of obligations to protect diplomats”.

UN chief calls for dialogue

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on leaders of the Sudanese armed forces and the Rapid Support Forces to immediately cease hostilities and begin a dialogue to resolve the crisis in Sudan.

Guterres strongly condemned the outbreak of fighting in Sudan, noting that the situation has already led to “horrendous loss of life”, including many civilians.

“I condemn the deaths and injuries to civilians and humanitarian workers and the targeting and looting of premise. I remind all parties of the need to respect international law, including ensuring the safety and security of all United Nations and associated personnel and humanitarian aid workers,” said Guterres.

The UN chief warned that any further escalation could be devastating for Sudan and the region, and urged all those with influence over the situation to support efforts to end the violence, restore order, and return to the path of transition.

Guterres said he had spoken with the two Sudanese leaders during the weekend and is actively engaging with the African Union, the Arab League and leaders across the region.

He reaffirmed that the people of Sudan will have the United Nations’ full support for their efforts to restore the democratic transition and build a peaceful, secure future.

The violent clashes first erupted on April 15 between the SAF and RSF in Khartoum and other cities, with the two sides accusing each other of initiating the conflict.

The tension between the two military forces has escalated since April 12 in the Merowe region in northern Sudan, after the RSF moved military vehicles to a location near the military air base there, a move that the army considered illegal.

Deep differences have emerged between the Sudanese army and the RSF, particularly regarding the latter’s integration into the army as stipulated in a framework agreement signed between military and civilian leaders on December 5, 2022.

It has also been accused of human rights abuses, including the massacre of more than 120 protesters in June 2019.

ALSO READ: Almost 185 killed in Sudan violence

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