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Sudan’s paramilitary force welcomes South Sudan mediation to end fighting

Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, on Wednesday welcomed mediation efforts by neighboring South Sudan to end the month-long fighting with the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF).

Youssef Izzat al-Mahri, political advisor to RSF, said they are willing to implement the ceasefire agreed upon on May 11 with the SAF in the red sea coastal city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

“We welcome South Sudan, we know President Salva Kiir has more understanding of the crisis in Sudan in general, and he has a role to play to stop the war. We welcome the contribution of South Sudan in stopping the fighting and attaining peace in Sudan,” Izzat said during press conference held in Juba.

Despite the two warring factions signing the recent declaration of principles in Saudi Arabia, heavy fighting and air and artillery bombardment continued in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.

“We have agreed on ceasefire to end the conflict that has now taken a month and two days, as RSF we have to play a role in implementing the signed ceasefire and the beginning of the political process,” Izzat said.

He denied accusations that RSF was using civilians as human shields in ongoing fierce fighting with the Sudanese military that erupted since April 15.

Izzat said the RSF have been protecting foreign embassies and assisting civilians exiting Khartoum.

“There is no direct military operation in Khartoum, the danger is air bombardment and the artillery fire which is in continuous and repetitive manner, the most affected are civilians, the solution is to stop hostilities and work for peace and humanitarians access,” he disclosed.

Izzat called on Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, the head of the SAF to respect the ceasefire that was initialed recently by the two sides with mediation from Saudi Arabia and the United States.

“There is a lot of war propaganda, that the RSF have taken control of hospitals that is not true on the ground, our position is that we will stand and cooperate with President Salva Kiir and his team to achieve peace in Sudan,” he said.

Deng Dau Deng, Acting minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, said President Kiir called upon both parties and particularly, Dagalo to respect the ceasefire deal.

“There is a real need for the RSF and SAF to be able to immediately cease the real cessation of hostilities that can be verified by other people, who can be allowed to see the particular verification, his excellency (Kiir) also asked that after the cessation of hostilities, there should be real talks on the issues that have caused the conflict so that the war can stop in South Sudan,” Deng said.

He also said that Sudan’s neighbors like South Sudan, Egypt, Chad, Ethiopia, Central Africa Republic, Eritrea and Libya are currently grappling with the huge refugee influx across their borders.

“We are the neighboring countries to Sudan and he (Kiir) talked on their behalf, to give this appeal to the representative of RSF and also he has been communicating with the chairperson of the Sudan Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan,” Deng said

He added that they also discussed opening of humanitarian corridors, particularly the hospitals and water points.

“South Sudan continues to play this particular role, we have at one point had similar situation in 2013 and 2016, his excellency the President has continued to call upon Al-Burhan and Hemedti to reflect and to see the future of Sudan because the destruction of Sudan is destruction of neighboring countries, instability in Sudan is instability of the neighboring countries,” Deng said.

The conflict in Sudan erupted on April 15, following disagreement between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on the timeline for transitioning to civilian rule and integration of the latter into the SAF.

The conflict has killed more than 700 people and displaced nearly a million people in the country.

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