UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday called for an immediate end to fighting in Sudan.
Ten days of violence and chaos since the outbreak of fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces are heartbreaking. A prolonged, full-scale war is unbearable to contemplate, he told a UN Security Council meeting on Sudan.
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, he noted.
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, he added.
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, he warned.
The fighting must stop immediately, he said.
“We need an all-out effort for peace,” said Guterres, calling on the parties to the conflict “to silence the guns” and “to put the interests of their people front and center.”
This conflict will not, and must not, be resolved on the battlefield. The Sudanese people have made their wishes very clear. They want peace and the restoration of civilian rule through the transition to democracy, he said.
Guterres demands the parties to the conflict respect the 72-hour cease-fire and come together to establish a permanent cessation of hostilities. He urged Security Council members and other UN member states and regional organizations with influence to press them to de-escalate tensions and return to the negotiating table immediately.
The United Nations has reconfigured its presence to protect its personnel and their families while staying and delivering support to the Sudanese people, and is establishing a hub in Port Sudan on the Red Sea to enable it to continue to work with partners in support of peace and to alleviate humanitarian suffering, he said.
“Above all, we stand with the Sudanese people, and their hopes and demands for peace, the restoration of civilian rule, and the democratic transition,” said the UN chief. ■