As Desperate Sudanese Flee Their Embattled Nation, Security Council Urges Warring Parties to Respect Ceasefire, Reboot Negotiations, Immediately End Fighting
Already Dire Humanitarian, Economic Situation Nearing Catastrophe, with Thousands Internally Displaced, Risk of Regional Spillover, Drastic Setbacks to Development
After 10 days of heart-breaking violence and chaos that have ravaged Sudan and claimed more than 400 lives, including 4 from the United Nations family, the world needs an all-out effort for peace, Secretary-General António Guterres told the Security Council today, as others echoed his call for the fighting to stop immediately.
The reports from Khartoum paint a devastating picture: people are trapped indoors, terrified, with dwindling supplies of food, water medicines and fuel, health services are near collapse and several hospitals are being used by armed groups, he said. Across the country, there have been reports of armed clashes; people have fled their homes in Blue Nile and North Kordofan States and across Darfur, with refugees and returnees having arrived in Chad, Egypt and South Sudan. This power struggle is lighting a fuse that could make an already catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Sahel even worse, setting back development by decades, he said.
All parties — General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo “Hemedti”, Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces — must silence the guns, he insisted. They must put the interests of the people front and centre, respect the ceasefire and establish the permanent cessation of hostilities. This conflict will not and must not be resolved on the battlefield with the bodies of Sudan’s children, women and men, he underscored, emphasizing that the United Nations stands with the Sudanese people.
Volker Perthes, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), reported that the 72-hour ceasefire brokered by the United States on 24 April was still holding in some parts. However, both the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces have accused each other of ceasefire violations. The situation in Darfur remains volatile and fighting has resumed in some regions, with other areas hosting thousands of internally displaced people. Nearly 1,200 people — including 744 United Nations staff and diplomatic employees, relocated to Port Sudan. “Our relocation and evacuation do not mean that the United Nations is abandoning Sudan,” he stressed, adding that the Organization will keep a reduced presence, while ensuring a sustained ceasefire with a monitoring mechanism, a return to political negotiations and the alleviation of human suffering.
Joyce Msuya, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, stressed that the humanitarian crisis is quickly turning into a catastrophe, with more than 400 people killed, more than 3,700 injured and more than 20 hospitals forced to close. In addition to numerous reports of sexual and gender-based violence, aid workers have been beaten and held at gunpoint as warehouses, offices and vehicles have been attacked, looted or seized. Yet, despite this extremely dangerous situation, the Organization’s commitment remains resolute, she declared, outlining its efforts towards delivering whenever and wherever possible. “What the people of Sudan need — what we need to reach them — is an immediate ceasefire and a lasting solution to the crisis,” she stressed.
Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer for the African Union, speaking on behalf of Moussa Mahamat Faki, Chairperson of the Union, spotlighted its efforts since the descent into violence, which include a statement calling for urgent de-escalation, the high-level meeting on 20 April and the forthcoming meeting of the enlarged Trilateral Mechanism to discuss immediate practical steps. As no military action can solve this crisis, any political process must be inclusive and Sudanese-owned. Rejecting any foreign interference in an already dangerous crisis, she urged Sudanese parties to not lose sight of the central objective — the formation of a broad-based civilian lead Government to steer the transition to a new democratic dispensation.
In the ensuing debate, Council members spoke with a unified voice in calling for a cessation of hostilities as others — sounding the alarm over the humanitarian and political situation — offered their prescriptions on the way forward.
The representative of Switzerland, noting that Sudan’s civilian population is paying a heavy price, called on the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces to immediately and fully uphold the ceasefire. It is untenable and unacceptable that hospitals are increasingly unable to help the wounded, she emphasized, calling on both to ensure the security and protection of civilian populations, the Organization’s personnel, humanitarian goods and services and diplomatic staff.
Similarly, Malta’s delegate urged parties to restore calm, fully respect truces and consolidate efforts towards a long-term ceasefire. Without an end to the violence, the international community risks a destabilized Sudan with potential spillovers in the region and beyond. Calling for strong unified messages from the Council in concert with regional initiatives, she pointed out: “There is no more time to lose before it’s too late.”
The representative of the United States, voicing her disappointment that the Council did not meet sooner, encouraged both sides to form a committee with civil society, as well as regional and international partners, to oversee negotiations towards the cessation of hostilities. They must put down their guns and start talking, she stressed, emphasizing that there will be accountability for anyone who attempts to undermine or delay diplomatic progress.
Building on that, Ecuador’s delegate stressed that the international community cannot remain passive, especially since attacks on critical civilian infrastructure are a violation of international humanitarian law. For their part, all parties must allow for the creation of humanitarian corridor and the Council must use all tools at its disposal.
The representative of the Russian Federation, Council President for April, speaking in her national capacity, pointed out that this crisis has been triggered by external interference. Many external players artificially forced through the transfer-of-power process by imposing a “democratic formula”, leaving out several political heavyweights and tying sorely needed assistance with the transfer of authority. Regional players must have the necessary space and time, she underscored, urging mediators to act in a unified way.
Sudan should not be a place for clashes of geopolitical interests, Ghana’s delegate — speaking also on behalf of Gabon and Mozambique — asserted. Council members and global partners must undertake a delicate approach, maintain coherence, support neighbouring States and prioritize efforts that end the hostilities, de-escalate the situation and protect civilians. Any external interference in the ongoing conflict would complicate the situation on the ground, he underscored, emphasizing that Africa can no longer tolerate the consequences of geopolitical clashes.
The representative of Sudan explained that his country’s armed forces are defending the status quo out of a constitutional, national and moral obligation to protect national security and territorial integrity. Stressing that the door is still open for rebel forces to integrate into the Sudanese army, he called on all countries to condemn these forces for their continued fighting in populated cities and residential areas. The Council itself should deal with developments in Khartoum through a rational approach, he added.
Ismail Wais, Special Envoy of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), could not brief due to technical issues.
The meeting began at 6:30 p.m. and ended at 8:54 p.m.
ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, United Nations Secretary-General, noting that Sudan has been ravaged by a deadly conflict for 10 days, despite calls for a ceasefire from inside and outside the country, said that 400 people have been killed including 4 members from the United Nations family. The reports from Khartoum paint a devastating picture: people are trapped indoors, terrified, with dwindling supplies of food, water medicines and fuel, health services are near collapse and several hospitals are being used by armed groups. Across the country, there have been reports of armed clashes; people have fled their homes in Blue Nile and North Kordofan States and across Darfur, with refugees and returnees having arrived in Chad, Egypt and South Sudan. “These 10 days of violence and chaos are heart-breaking,” he said, adding that “a prolonged, full-scale war is unbearable to contemplate”.
As Sudan borders seven countries, all of which have either been involved in conflict or seen serious civil unrest over the past decade, it is a gateway to the Sahel, where insecurity and political instability are making an already catastrophic humanitarian situation even worse, he pointed out. Across this region, poverty and hunger are rampant, the climate emergency, global cost of living crisis and soaring levels of debt are taking a terrible toll, and in some places, humanitarian aid is all that is keeping famine at bay. The power struggle in Sudan is not only putting that country’s future at risk but lighting a fuse that could denotate across borders, causing immense suffering for years and setting development back by decades.
“The fighting must stop immediately — we need an all-out effort for peace”, he emphasized, calling on all parties — General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo “Hemedti”, the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces — to the conflict to silence the guns. Sudanese leaders must put the interests of their people front and centre, especially since this conflict will not and must not be resolved on the battlefield with the bodies of Sudan’s children, women and men. That country’s people have made their wishes very clear: they want peace and the restoration of civilian rule through the transition to democracy, he stressed. Parties to the conflict must respect the 72-hour ceasefire brokered by the United States and come together to establish a permanent cessation of hostilities. For their part, Council members, Member States and regional organizations with influence must press Sudanese leaders to de-escalate tensions and return to the negotiating table immediately.
The United Nations has reconfigured its presence to protect its personnel and their families, while staying and delivering support to the Sudanese people, he reported. With its leadership in Sudan remaining in the country, it is establishing a hub in Port Sudan to enable the continuation of its work with partners on peace and the alleviation of humanitarian suffering. One third of Sudan’s people needed humanitarian aid even before the recent crisis, he noted, underscoring that this number can only have risen sharply after the destruction of the past 10 days. The United Nations stands with the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and its regional and international partners. Above all, it stands with the Sudanese people and their hopes and demands for peace, the restoration of civilian rule and democratic transition, he said.
VOLKER PERTHES, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), reported that a 72-hour ceasefire was brokered by the United States on 24 April, which is still holding in some parts. However, the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces have both accused each other of ceasefire violations. In Khartoum, fighting continued and in some cases intensified, including air strikes and heavy shelling in Bahri and Omdurman, he said, adding that residential areas near the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces installations have come under persistent attacks. Reports of attempted sexual assaults and prisoners being released from detention centres have been received, while the fear of increased criminality is mounting.
The situation Darfur regions remains volatile, he said, noting that in North Darfur a local ceasefire was brokered by State authorities and native leaders with support of the Mission. In West Darfur, however, the fighting resumed with tribes arming themselves. Sporadic fighting has been recorded in El Obeid, while intercommunal clashed erupted between Hausa and Funj communities in Blue Nile, in the absence of security forces. Reporting that other regions of the country are hosting thousands of internally displaced people, he also said that supply routes are disrupted, resulting in fuel shortages and armed robberies.
“The fighting in Sudan has created a humanitarian catastrophe,” he continued, pointing out that 427 people have been killed and more than 3,700 injured. To this end, civil society has filled the response vacuum and several neighbourhood resistance committees have established emergency rooms for basic health care, while also coordinating civilian evacuations. The humanitarian short pauses negotiated last week enabled the United Nations and its humanitarian partners to relocate their staff. Nonetheless, both leaders have not been able to commit to a complete ceasefire, and there is no sign that either is ready to negotiate, suggesting that securing a military victory over the other is possible. “As fighting continues […] Sudan could become increasingly fragmented”, he stressed.
Turning to evacuation, he reported that nearly 1,200 people, including 744 United Nations staff and diplomatic employees, relocated to Port Sudan. While some international staff members were not evacuated due to various reasons, national staff are also relocating to safe areas. “Let me be clear: our relocation and evacuation do not mean that the United Nations is abandoning Sudan,” he stressed, adding that the Organization will keep a reduced presence, while ensuring a sustained ceasefire with a monitoring mechanism, a return to political negotiations and the alleviation of human suffering. Sudanese national figures, including former Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, business leaders, political parties and civil society are mobilizing against the war and urging support for a ceasefire and humanitarian support, he said, adding that he is coordinating closely with them.
JOYCE MSUYA, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, calling for the fighting to stop, said that what has been unfolding since 15 April is a nightmare for ordinary citizens and aid workers alike. Prior to that date, Sudan’s humanitarian needs were at a record high with 15.8 million people — a staggering one third of its population — in need of aid, 4 million malnourished children and pregnant and lactating women and 3.7 million internally displaced persons. This conflict will not only deepen these needs, but also threaten to unleash an entirely new wave of humanitarian challenges, she warned.
With fighting massively impeding and imperilling aid operations, the humanitarian crisis is quickly turning into a catastrophe, she reported. More than 400 people have been killed, more than 3,700 have been injured and more than 20 hospitals have been forced to close due to damage, military use and the lack of resources. Power cuts and fuel shortages put vaccine stocks and water supplies at risk, a precursor for the spread of disease. There have also been numerous reports of sexual and gender-based violence, she pointed out, calling on all parties to ensure that no woman or girl is affected by these crimes. The toll on mental health and psychological well-being, especially among children, is unimaginable, she underscored.
The humanitarian community has not been spared, she continued, noting: “We have lost five of our own.” Aid workers have been attacked in their homes, beaten and held at gunpoint. Warehouses, offices and vehicles have been attacked, looted or seized. Yet despite this extremely dangerous and alarming situation, the Organization’s commitment to the people of Sudan remains resolute. “While we have been forced to reduce our footprint in areas where fighting is at its most intense, let there be no mistake: We are not leaving Sudan,” she pledged. A humanitarian leadership team based in Port Sudan will remain in the country to lead operations, and where possible, humanitarian operations will continue, thanks to the dedication of aid workers. The Organization will continue to deliver whenever and wherever feasible, particularly in the areas of health and nutrition. In that vein, it is exploring ways to replenish its stockpiles to deliver aid as soon as it is safe to do so, activating a hub in Nairobi to support the rapid response and preparing for refugee influxes into countries across the region. Her Office is also working to redistribute recent allocations from the Central Emergency Response Fund and the Sudan Humanitarian Fund and will continue to work with local partners to reach those most in need.
International humanitarian law is unequivocal, she underlined, stressing that all parties to the conflict must respect civilians and civilian infrastructure. This includes allowing safe passage for civilians to leave areas of hostilities on a voluntary basis, she pointed out. They must respect humanitarian workers and assets, facilitate relief operations and respect medical personnel, transport and facilities. “What the people of Sudan need — what we need to reach them — is an immediate ceasefire and a lasting solution to the crisis,” she stressed.
FATIMA KYARI MOHAMMED, Permanent Observer for the African Union, delivering her statement on behalf of Moussa Mahamat Faki, Chairperson of the Union, said the Union’s support to the Sudanese national actors resulted in the August 2019 Transitional Agreement which permitted relative stability for two years, and included the signing in 2020 of the Juba Peace Agreement with Sudanese armed groups. During this time, Sudan was also removed from the United States list of State sponsors of terrorism and returned to the international community, with key decisions on debt relief and economic and development assistance following decades of sanctions against the country.
The October 2021 coup, however, brought the civilian transition to an end and led to suspension by the African Union Peace and Security Council of Sudan from participating in all activities of the Union, she continued, recalling that the Chairperson travelled to Sudan five times since the October 2021 coup to engage with the military and civilian actors to impress upon them the urgency to reach an agreement for a return of a civilian-led Government, and finalize the transition period by holding general elections. Since the descent into violence that began on 14 April this year, the African Union issued a statement calling for an urgent de-escalation, a ceasefire and a return to the negotiating table.
Moreover, the Chairperson convened an urgent global high-level meeting on 20 April, during which participants condemned the violence and called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to allow the observance of Eid al-Fitr, with the view to pave the way for a more permanent ceasefire; demanded that the belligerents establish humanitarian corridors and allow for unhindered humanitarian access to address the urgent and immediate needs of the population; called for the urgent resumption of the political process, through dialogue and negotiation, towards the establishment of an inclusive civilian-led Government; and strongly rejected any forms of external interference.
Participants requested the Trilateral Mechanism, under the leadership of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, be enlarged to the League of Arab States, European Union, the Troika and bilateral actors, to immediately engage the leadership of the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces, she noted. The enlarged Mechanism is expected to meet in the coming days to discuss immediate practical steps regarding issues related to an envisaged cessation of hostilities, which is linked to humanitarian access.
She underscored that no military action can solve this crisis and any political process must be an inclusive Sudanese-owned process. She also rejected of any foreign interference in what is already a dangerous crisis for Sudan, the region and the continent, and the millions of innocent civilians affected by this. It is essential for the Sudanese parties not to lose sight of the central objective, that of forming a broad-based civilian-led Government headed by a Prime Minister appointed by consensus to steer the transition to a new democratic dispensation in Sudan, she asserted.
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom) reported that the United Kingdom carried out an evacuation of its embassy personnel on 23 April and is now evacuating its nationals. She unequivocally condemned the military clashes that are taking place across the country and echoed the Secretary-General’s calls for peace and for an end to attacks on civilians and humanitarian workers. She also called on the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces to create a lasting ceasefire across the country. As well, both sides must provide access for humanitarian workers and to ensure the protection of civilians and humanitarian workers. Moreso, she encouraged diplomatic efforts to work towards a permanent ceasefire and a political solution.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States) expressed disappointment that the Security Council did not meet on Sudan sooner, as its people, as well as humanitarian personnel needed to hear from us”, she stated. Stressing that the fighting and killing must stop immediately, she condemned the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces, calling on both to uphold a 72-hour ceasefire, which came into effect at midnight on 24 April. Together, they should form a committee with regional and international community partners and civil society to oversee negotiations for the conclusion and implementation of a permanent cessation of hostilities and humanitarian assistance. Voicing support for efforts by the African Union, IGAD, League of Arab States and UNITAMS to resolve the crisis, she stressed that Sudanese military leaders must hear the call, as violence has killed more than 420 civilians and injured thousands. Further noting grave concern over reports of sexual assaults, she urged rival forces to abide by international law. She warned that millions of Sudanese need humanitarian assistance, noting that the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has reported that they were already in dire need before the crisis, running out of food and supplies and needing medical care. Violence has also killed three World Food Programme (WFP) staff, leading to the suspension of their activities, which will affect countless others — but, she affirmed, the United Nations has no choice. Diplomats, including a United States diplomatic convoy, have come under attack and the United States embassy was hit by direct and indirect fire — acts that are irresponsible and shameful. Noting that there will be accountability for anybody who attempts to undermine or delay Sudan’s diplomatic progress, she expressed solidarity with its people and humanitarian personnel, calling on the rival forces to put down their guns and start talking.
ZHANG JUN (China), noting that his country is a good friend of Sudan, said that State’s relapse into turmoil “pains us”. Noting that both parties to the conflict have committed to a 72-hour ceasefire starting on 25 April, he expressed the hope that it is fully implemented and civilians effectively protected. It is also crucial to ensure the safety of foreign institutions and personnel in the country and enable logistical support for humanitarian aid and personnel evacuation. Thanking all relevant parties for facilitating the evacuation and relocation of Chinese personnel, he also commended the African Union, IGAD, League of Arab States and other regional organizations for their critical role in responding to the situation. Welcoming the emergency special meeting to be held on 20 April, he expressed support for mediation efforts of South Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti, and hoped that they can visit Sudan as soon as the security conditions allow.
NATHALIE BROADHURST ESTIVAL (France), condemning the violence in Sudan, said her country has evacuated the French community along with the nationals of 42 countries. Recalling that France and the European Union have always fulfilled the humanitarian needs of Sudan’s people, she reported that overall assistance of €600 million has been provided since 2013, with an increase from €44 million to €73 million since February 2022. She called for collective and coordinated action to immediately consolidate the ceasefire. Recalling that the crisis threatens to erase the hope created by the 2019 revolution, she said the crisis represents a step back in the peace process and the transition to civilian Government. To this end, she called on all of Sudan’s political forces to not participate in the fighting. Expressing France’s solidarity with the people of Sudan, she paid tribute to the work of civil society and mediation efforts carried out by associations, political parties and local authorities. When the time comes, all political forces should commit to an inclusive political process, she stressed.
LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates) said that, while her Government has focused on bringing the citizens of her country to safety, following the outbreak of hostilities, the international community should not forget those who must remain. Stressing the importance of maintaining the 72-hour ceasefire, she commended the dedication of regional leaders to de-escalating this crisis and underlined the need to prevent any regional spill over. However, the humanitarian situation is of concern; with no food and water and unreliable electricity, people are fleeing to safety. The crisis has undermined aid operations serving 10 million Sudanese people and is preventing aid agencies from responding to the needs of the newly displaced. Almost one third of Sudan’s medical facilities are now out of service. Against this backdrop, she called on parties to allow for unhindered access to the World Health Organization (WHO) to secure the safety of the material. Aid workers and diplomatic staff are in danger, with five Sudanese aid workers killed since the outbreak of violence. There is no military victory in this conflict and only Sudanese civilians will pay the price, she emphasized.
ISHIKANE KIMIHIRO (Japan) strongly called on parties to abide by international humanitarian and human rights law and to protect civilians. While the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces largely held the three-day humanitarian ceasefire during Eid, civilians are nevertheless still under attack, with some foreign nationals having been attacked even during the evacuation process. Parties must implement the latest agreement to expand the ceasefire by another three days in good faith, he stressed, also calling on them to realize a permanent ceasefire and return to peaceful dialogue. For its part, the Security Council must speak with a unified voice in this regard. The Sudan-led and Sudan-owned political process must not be suspended, he continued, underscoring that the return of a civilian-led transitional Government is the only way forward to achieve peace and prosperity and ensure that Khartoum receives further international assistance. In respecting the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Sudan, Tokyo will contribute to the efforts of the Sudanese people. It fully supports the Organization’s efforts and stands in solidarity with the people of Sudan, he emphasized.
ANDRÉS EFREN MONTALVO SOSA (Ecuador) condemned the clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces that have led to a crisis and the deaths of hundreds and injured many more. The guns must be silenced, he said, demanding that the ceasefire be respected. The international community cannot remain passive. The attacks on critical civilian infrastructure, including airports and hospitals, are a violation of international humanitarian law. Even before the conflict, the country’s humanitarian needs were great and many people required emergency food and assistance. He called on all parties to allow the creation of humanitarian corridors and to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers. Stressing that the Council is deeply concerned, he urged the parties to immediately cease military activities and return to dialogue. Illicit trafficking in weapons is making the situation more dangerous for civilians and people in the region. He urged all international efforts to return the country to a transition that will lead to peace. The Council must use all the tools at its disposal, including the Charter, he stressed.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana), speaking also on behalf of Gabon and Mozambique, said his group strongly supports the region-led approach to resolving the outbreak of armed confrontation between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces. He called on all Security Council members and Sudan's international partners to support a delicate approach, guided by the Swahili proverb that “running is not necessarily arriving”. The international community must maintain coherence and prioritize efforts to sustain an end to hostilities, de-escalate the situation and protect civilians, including the injured, international officials, diplomatic agents and foreign nationals. He called on all parties to resume the political process for sustainable peace in Sudan and the region.
The Group wants to contain hostilities to prevent a widespread and long, drawn-out conflict, he said. He urged the two sides in Sudan to cooperate with processes to implement the Communiqué of the Ministerial Special Session on Sudan, held on 20 April under the auspices of the African Union. He reiterated the group’s collective rejection of any external interference in the ongoing conflict, which would complicate the situation on the ground. “Sudan should not be a place for clashes of international geopolitical interests,” he said. “We emphasize that the continent can no longer tolerate such clashes and their consequences,” he added. He said his group is concerned with the conflict’s implications for the region’s security, encouraging neighbouring States to continue to play a positive and constructive role to stabilize Sudan and asking international institutions to work with them. This includes managing the conflict’s effects, such as supporting refugees, he said, noting that 20,000 refugees have gone to Chad due to the situation, adding to the nearly 400,000 refugees already in the country.
VANESSA FRAZIER (Malta) called on parties to cease hostilities, restore calm and return to dialogue towards the long-term transition for a civilian-led Government. All parties are obliged under international humanitarian law to ensure rapid, safe and unimpeded access to all civilians. Specific attention must be given to women, children, the elderly and those with disabilities in particular to ensure that they are not left behind in protection and evacuation operations. Truces must be fully respected and further consolidated for a longer-term ceasefire, she continued, welcoming the various diplomatic efforts at the global and regional level, as well as those at the local and national levels, including the engagement of key signatories of the Jube Peace Agreement. To ensure that all Sudanese are represented, these efforts must be fully inclusive of women, youth and civil society. For their part, both parties must hear and act on these calls. However, without an end to the violence, the international community risks a destabilized Sudan with potential spillovers in the region and beyond, she cautioned. Against this backdrop, the Council’s central commitment to all of these efforts must be reinforced through strong unified messages in concert with regional initiatives. “There is no more time to lose before it’s too late,” she emphasized.
RICCARDA CHRISTIANA CHANDA (Switzerland), pointing out that Sudan’s civilian population is paying a heavy price, described the last few days’ events as a worst-case scenario. With hundreds of civilians having been killed, thousands more injured and the toll continuing to rise, she called on both parties to immediately and fully uphold the ceasefire. Her Government is deeply concerned by the deteriorating humanitarian situation in which clashes are making the delivery of humanitarian aid almost impossible. It is untenable and unacceptable that the only hospitals which are still operational are increasingly unable to help the many who are wounded, she emphasized, calling on both parties to assume their responsibility by allowing and facilitating rapid, sustainable and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need. Moreover, they must allow for the evacuation of the injured and fully respect their international humanitarian and human rights law obligations, including the need to take special precautions to protect the most vulnerable. Both sides must ensure the security and protection of civilian populations, diplomatic missions and staff, the Organization’s personnel, as well as humanitarian goods and services, she added, reminding all that intentional attacks may constitute war crimes. She then underlined the necessity for close coordination in ongoing diplomatic efforts and called on the Council to speak with one voice.
ALBANA DAUTLLARI (Albania) strongly condemned the hundreds of civilian fatalities, including United Nations staff members and humanitarian personnel — a stark reminder of the urgent need for a lasting ceasefire and to recommence peace negotiations. Urging all sides to resume dialogue, she welcomed the 72-hour ceasefire, and all efforts to work towards reinforcing humanitarian and all diplomatic efforts by all involved parties. Warning that the armed conflict has driven the humanitarian situation from dire to catastrophic, she highlighted the immediate need for full unhindered humanitarian access to those needing care and those trapped in schools, hospitals and damaged infrastructure, and applauding all staff and aid workers on the ground. Calling on the Rapid Support Forces and Sudanese Armed Forces to uphold their commitments under international humanitarian law, she reaffirmed her Government’s commitment to stand with the Sudanese people in their pursuit of peace and stability.
JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil), deploring the violence and ensuing fighting, expressed regret about the heavy toll of civilian deaths in Sudan. The clashes in the Blue Nile, as well as in central and west Darfur, raise fears that conflict can spread to every part of the country and even to neighbouring ones, he added. Condemning the violence perpetrated against personnel of diplomatic corps and international organizations, he stressed that humanitarian law must not be applied selectively. Even before the conflict, humanitarian needs were at record levels across the country. Sudanese people must not become embroiled in a crisis with profound unpredictable impact, he underscored. Expressing appreciation for the negotiation efforts of various regional partners and countries, he added that Sudanese civil society is the main stakeholder in the current stage of Sudan’s journey towards a political transition. Protests have been a feature of its cities, he said, adding that violent scenes of repression will not deter the resilience of the Sudanese people.
ANNA M. EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation), Council President for April, speaking in her national capacity and noting the attacks on diplomatic missions’ staff and representatives of international organizations, underscored the importance of carrying out necessary evacuations. Not only are United Nations staff and Western nationals in dire straits, but so are Sudan’s people who deserve equal attention. The crisis has been triggered by external interference, the political engineering attempts and imposing of the “democratic formula”, she said, pointing to the fragmentation of the country’s political forces and the complexity of cooperation due to historic, ethnic and economic factors. Security sector reform was one of the most complex issues and many external players artificially forced through the transfer of power process. As a result, several political heavyweights have been left out of this format, while the provision of assistance has been tied to the transfer of authority to a civilian Government. Expressing regret that UNITAMS ignored a number of issues within its mandate, she observed that the crisis has caught everyone off guard. She, thus, suggested providing regional players with necessary space and time and urged the mediators to act in a unified way.
AL-HARITH IDRISS AL-HARITH MOHAMED (Sudan) said the unfortunate events which started on 15 April were due to the rebellion of the Rapid Support Forces against the Sudanese forces to cease power by launching coordinated attacks on vital strategic facilities. Faced with this rebellion and based on its constitutional, national and moral obligation to protect the country’s national security and territorial integrity, the armed forces are defending the status quo created by the revolution in the context of the political transition, recognized regionally and internationally. The armed forces are dealing with this rebellion in a way that aims to restore the safety of the civilians and security of the country, while ending the dual military and security presence. In a modern State, the armed forces are united under one governmental and constitutional entity. The Sudanese Armed Forces are committed to a combat strategy aimed at minimizing civilian casualties and damage to private and public property.
The door is still open for the rebel forces to lay down their arms and integrate into the Sudanese army, according to conditions applied in such cases. To deal with the spillover of this crisis, he stressed the need to implement a three-day truce. The activities of the rebel forces, their use of various weapons in residential and civilian areas and their attacks on civilians represent an ongoing threat to public security. Against this backdrop, he called on all countries to condemn these rebel forces for their deployment and continued fighting in populated cities and residential areas. Reiterating his commitment to enforcing the political transition process, he highlighted the importance of examining the underlying causes of conflict. He also called on the Council to preserve the positive engagement of Sudan and to deal with developments in that country through a rational approach, expressing hope that Sudan will defeat these difficult circumstances and end the rebellion.
OSAMA MAHMOUD ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt) said his delegation is ready to provide all necessary support to help Sudan emerge from the crisis and end the bloodbath. The violation of the ceasefire continues, endangering the situation of all people. He urged that the ceasefire be maintained, hostilities cease and dialogue renewed in order to resolve differences. His Government has been in contact with all stakeholders, international and regional, and is working to find an exit for this crisis, he said, also thanking the Sudanese authorities for allowing for the evacuation of people. He also voiced support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sudan, adding that the Sudanese conflict is a domestic conflict and international and regional interferences must be avoided. He called for the cohesion of Sudanese institutions and the traditional concept of a modern democratic State to prevail, and stressed the importance of inclusion in the process towards peace. The international community must prepare a rapid response to begin once the damage to the country’s infrastructure has been assessed. His delegation will work with all stakeholders to diffuse this crisis as soon as possible, he said.
MOHAMED SIAD DOUALEH (Djibouti), speaking on behalf of IGAD ambassadors in New York, voiced concern over the Sudan crisis and urged leaders of the parties to immediately and unconditionally cease hostilities. He emphasized the African Union position on the conflict, on the need for the parties to embrace a peaceful solution and inclusive dialogue, respecting the wishes of the Sudanese people for the restoration of democracy, constitutionalism, rule of law and rejection of external interference in domestic affairs. He called on the parties to facilitate the visit to Khartoum by the three heads of State of Djibouti, Kenya and South Sudan, who are ready to jump-start talks as soon as security conditions permit. Welcoming the 72-hour ceasefire brokered by the United States, he urged the parties to abide by it and work with mediators to negotiate a permanent one as soon as possible. He cited the importance of African solutions to African problems, urging the United Nations to support regional and continental mediation efforts.
Speaking in his national capacity, he affirmed that Djibouti is honoured to have served as a key hub for the evacuation of personnel and nationals of friendly countries. He voiced concern for those Sudanese people affected by the deterioration of the security situation there, and their difficulties in accessing water, food, electricity and medicine — immense humanitarian needs — and was encouraged by the readiness of United Nations and bilateral partners to meet them. Reaffirming Djibouti’s tireless solidarity with the people of Sudan, he stressed: “One death is one too many, and one refugee is one too many.”
TESFAYE YILMA SABO (Ethiopia), expressing solidarity with Sudan and its people, voiced his confidence in their wisdom and ability to overcome the current challenge, with the help of relevant regional organizations. His country is fully engaged, he said, calling on Sudan to embrace dialogue and stressing the importance of a Sudanese-owned process, facilitated by the United Nations and African Union and IGAD. This is a moment for the international community to support an African solution to an African problem. Kindness and generosity best describe the people of Sudan, he said, adding that his country enjoys neighbourly relations and economic and social ties with Sudan. “Our people face good times and challenges together,” he said, welcoming the ceasefire. Calling on the Council to exercise patience, he pointed out that Sudan has seen its fair share of sanctions. What it needs now is constructive support, he said, stressing the importance of avoiding undue external interference.
AKUEI BONA MALWAL (South Sudan) said that over 2 million of his country’s citizens are negatively affected across Sudan since the outbreak of the crisis. Reporting that his country has opened its borders for those fleeing, he said it has received around 10,000 people, including other countries’ nationals. Against this backdrop, he called on all the neighbouring countries to open their borders, while reiterating South Sudan’s readiness to temporarily host any international organization or United Nations agencies that may consider relocation. His country’s President has called for a ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, he said, adding that he remains in touch with the President of Sudan and the Chairman of the Sovereign Council, among others, through daily phone calls. Calling for the establishment of humanitarian corridors, he also urged the international community to support the Authority’s initiatives and allow parties to return to negotiations under IGAD’s high-level delegation, lead by South Sudan with the membership of Djibouti and Kenya. Any multifaceted approaches will complicate the process and worsen the situation further, he stressed.
ABDULAZIZ ALWASIL (Saudi Arabia) said his country has been closely following events in Sudan with concern and regret. He called for restraint and an end to military operations to promote a de-escalation of hostilities in the interest of the Sudanese people. He urged all parties to arrive at a political declaration that will help bring peace, prosperity and stability to the region. His delegation is committed to the continuation of the truce, diplomatic talks and the creation of humanitarian corridors to let humanitarian workers do their jobs and facilitate the evacuation of civilians. Saudi Arabia is working with international, regional and Sudanese partners to make it possible for political dialogue to resume. The Saudi Royal Navy has begun its first evacuation operations since the crisis began, he said, welcoming the cooperation of Sudanese partners.
MATHU JOYINI (South Africa) said the violence has caused untold pain and suffering to the Sudanese people and foreign citizens, urging the warring parties to use the ceasefire to create the conditions to diplomatically resolve their differences. “No one will be a winner in this conflict,” she stressed. Citing the brave men and women working tirelessly to conduct foreign nationals to neighbouring countries, and all humanitarian aid workers, she called on all parties to ensure smooth passage of people without hindrance. The people of Sudan require a lasting solution, but the reprieve does not guarantee lasting peace to a people who have endured much through numerous crises. Urging international partners to work together with regional organizations and with Sudanese parties to find a lasting solution, she noted that fighting, violence and destruction go against the African Union vision and aspiration to silence the guns on the continent. All parties must avoid actions and statements that will exacerbate the conflict.