SUDAN: Guterres calls for ‘immediate’ ceasefire as death toll mounts – UN on GEO´
Syndicated By: GEO´ PRWire Team – Gibraltar
Clashes intensified across Sudan on Monday, as top UN officials urged rival military factions to protect civilians and respect the country’s international obligations.
“I strongly condemn the outbreak of fighting that is taking place in Sudan and appeal to the leaders of the Rapid Support Forces (RAF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) to immediately cease hostilities, restore calm, and begin a dialogue to resolve the crisis,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday.
Following the deaths of three employees of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in the restive Darfur region amid widespread fighting, he called for those responsible to be brought to justice without delay.
‘Horrendous’ loss of life
“The situation has already led to horrendous loss of life, including many civilians,” the UN chief said, ahead of delivering opening remarks at a UN Forum on Financing for Development.
He urged all those with influence over the deteriorating situation to press for peace, and support efforts to end the violence, restore order, and return to the path of transition.
Rising death toll
More than 180 people have been killed and 1,800 injured, some UN facilities have been looted and destroyed, and some non-essential staff will have to be evacuated, said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan, Volker Perthes, speaking to reporters early Monday afternoon at UN Headquarters via video from Khartoum.
“Fighting is going on almost uninterrupted,” he said. “I have made efforts to convince the leaders of both sides to hold fire for a humanitarian pause for a few hours to make it possible for the Sudanese to go to safer places or get supplies for Ramadan or go to the hospital.”
In constant contact with leaders of both sides, he said he is currently trying to cement a daily three-hour humanitarian ceasefire. While the parties had agreed on Sunday and again on Monday for such a pause, fighting had resumed before the end of the ceasefire, he said.
The two sides “are not giving us the impression that they want mediation right away,” he said. “Rather, they are calling on the other side to surrender or disband.”
‘We will do our utmost’
“I do not hear too much noise right now, but it is also prayer time,” the Special Representative said, calling on both sides to stop fighting immediately to allow access for aid workers and strongly requesting both sides to respect the need to protect UN facilities, embassies, aid workers and medical premises.
“We will have to evacuate some of our non-essential staff and relatives,” he said. “But, we will do our utmost to serve the Sudanese people. We will stay and deliver to the extent that we can.” Learn More /…
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