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Saudi Arabia and US announce Sudan 24-hour ceasefire

<i>Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters</i><br/>A man walks while smoke rises above buildings after aerial bombardment
Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters
A man walks while smoke rises above buildings after aerial bombardment

By Celine Alkhaldi, CNN

Abu Dhabi (CNN) — Saudi Arabia and the United States announced a 24-hour ceasefire starting Saturday between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday.

The ceasefire is effective starting 6:00AM Khartoum time [12:00a ET Friday], the statement said.

The two warring factions agreed to allow for the movement of humanitarian aid all throughout Sudan, the statement said.

“Saudi Arabia and the US join the Sudanese people in their frustration over the non-commitment of the previous truces,” the statement said.

On Thursday, Sudan’s foreign ministry which backs the country’s armed forces notified the United Nations that Volker Perthes, the special representative of the UN Secretary-General in Sudan, and head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), had been declared “persona non grata.”

“The Government of the Republic of Sudan has notified the Secretary-General of the United Nations on Thursday 8th June 2023 that it has declared Mr Volker Perthes, the head of UNITMAS, persona non grata as of today,” the Sudanese foreign ministry said in a statement Thursday.

Sudan’s foreign ministry did not clarify in the statement the reason behind the declaration.

Last month, Sudan’s military ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres asking that Perthes be removed from his post in the country, the Sudanese presidency said, according to Reuters.

Guterres was “shocked” by the letter he received from al-Burhan, his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at the time, adding that the Secretary-General is “proud” of the work that Perthes has done in Sudan.

Perthes, who was appointed to his role in 2021, has voiced strong concern over the conflict. In an address to the UN Security Council earlier this week, he criticized both leaders of Sudan’s warring parties and warned of “a growing ethnicization of the conflict.”

“Neither side has yet shown the ability to decisively claim a military victory,” Perthes said.

Last week, the UN Security Council voted to extend the UNITAMS mandate in Sudan for only six months, until 3 December 2023, the UN said in a statement.

UNITAMS, created in June 2020 to facilitate a renewed civilian-led transition to democracy in Sudan after the fall of Omar al-Bashir a year earlier, had since been renewed annually for a year.

Weeks of fierce fighting in Sudan between Burhan’s Sudanese Armed Forces and the country’s Rapid Support Forces led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo have left the country in turmoil and scrambled hopes for a peaceful transition to civilian rule.

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