The inconclusive results of the first round of talks facilitated in Jeddah by Saudi Arabia and the USA, in partnership with the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) in the Horn of Africa, has received mixed reactions from commentators across Sudan’s political spectrum.
As reported by Radio Dabanga immediately following the conclusion of the first round of talks this week, The facilitators voiced ‘regret’ that the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) were unable to agree on the implementation of a ceasefire, however the facilitators confirmed that “agreement has been reached on steps to facilitate increased humanitarian assistance and the implementation of confidence-building measures”. The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan said in a separate statement that these are “promises that must be kept.”
Suliman Baldo, executive director of the Sudan Transparency and Policy Tracker (STPT), stresses the importance of the commitments of the SAF and the RSF announced by the facilitators of the Jeddah platform on Tuesday, indicating that it is not a new agreement, but rather “a detail and re-expression of the pledges agreed upon in the May 11 Jeddah Declaration of Principles to Protect the Civilians of Sudan“.
Baldo told Radio Dabanga that while the new Jeddah agreement fails to reach a ceasefire, but agreed that humanitarian aid operations “must continue as in similar war experiences”, referring to the current humanitarian operation in Gaza, and the regularity of lifeline relief operations during the war in South Sudan.
Baldo expressed satisfaction that the facilitators of the Jeddah talks have established a body for direct communication between senior SAF and RSF commanders, to compensate for the failure to convince the parties to cease fire, and the body aims to facilitate negotiation processes during the period of suspension of the platform to reach an agreement on a ceasefire in the next round.
He pointed to the importance of the humanitarian mechanism to which the two parties committed to participate under the leadership of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan, to monitor the implementation of their commitments, and considered it a step to build confidence between the two parties, which can gradually lead to reaching a point of agreement to talk about a ceasefire, stressing that the responsibility for the nine non-war-affected states lies with the SAF, while in the other nine states the responsibility lies with the RSF. “Any breach of the Jeddah undertakings is the responsibility of the controller of the particular mandate.”
Baldo underlined that “the RSF is responsible for controlling the actions of its members, as well as pursuing criminal bandits that operate in RSF-controlled areas. “This calls for direct international pressure mechanisms to implement the obligations, in addition to holding both parties accountable under international law, and referred to the sanctions issued against entities owned by commanders under the control of the armed forces or companies owned by the Rapid Support.
The opposition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) welcomed the commitments of the army and RSF in Jeddah, demanding the arrest of those accused and conviction of those accused of killing civiliams and “elements of the former regime”.
The National Umma Party (NUP) expressed dissatisfaction with the failure of the warring parties to reach a ceasefire. Former Sovereignty Council member Siddig Tawir says the effectiveness of the Jeddah understandings is dependent on their link to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.
At the regional level, the government of Djibouti praised the positive role of the facilitators of the Jeddah-Sudanese talks in working to meet the aspirations of the Sudanese people.
Source: Radio Dabanga