Warning Power Struggle in Sudan Lighting Fuse That Could Detonate across Borders, Secretary-General Says Fighting Must Stop, Urges Parties to Respect Ceasefire

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks to the Security Council meeting on Sudan, in New York today:

Madame President, allow me to say a few words before the briefings presented by my colleagues.

For 10 days, Sudan has been ravaged by a deadly conflict — despite calls for a ceasefire from inside and outside the country.  At least 450 people have been killed — including 4 members of the United Nations family.  More than 4,000 people have been injured, and tens of thousands have fled their homes.

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 according to the World Health Organization (WHO), several hospitals are being used by armed groups.  Across the country, there are reports of armed clashes.

People have fled their homes in Blue Nile and North Kordofan States, and across Darfur.  Refugees and returnees have arrived in Chad, Egypt and South Sudan, and I thank the Governments of those countries for their support.  These 10 days of violence and chaos are heart-breaking.  A prolonged, full-scale war is unbearable to contemplate.

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.

Across the wider region, poverty and hunger are rampant.  The climate emergency, the global cost of living crisis and soaring levels of debt are taking a terrible toll.  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.  It is lighting a fuse that could detonate across borders, causing immense suffering for years, and setting development back for decades.

The fighting must stop immediately.  We need an all-out effort for peace.  I call on the parties to the conflict, on Generals Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo “Hemedti”, and the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces, to silence the guns.  It is incumbent on Sudanese leaders to put the interests of their people front and centre.

This conflict will not, and must not, be resolved on the battlefield — with the bodies of Sudan’s people.  The Sudanese people have made their wishes very clear.  They want peace and the restoration of civilian rule through the transition to democracy.

The 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.  I urge all Council members and other Member States and regional organizations with influence to press them to de-escalate tensions and return to the negotiating table immediately.

I commend our Sudanese and international partners, including several present today, who are working to support peace in Sudan.  The United Nations has reconfigured our presence to protect our personnel and their families while staying and delivering support to the Sudanese people. The United Nations leadership in Sudan, headed by my Special Representative Volker Perthes, remains in the country.

We are also establishing a hub in Port Sudan to enable us to continue to work with our partners in support of peace and to alleviate humanitarian suffering.  One third of Sudan’s people needed humanitarian aid even before the recent crisis; that number can only have risen sharply after the destruction of the past 10 days.

The United Nations stands with the African Union, the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and our regional and international partners. Above all, we stand with the Sudanese people, and their hopes and demands for peace, the restoration of civilian rule and the democratic transition.

For information media. Not an official record.