WASHINGTON, May 6. /TASS/. The United States and Saudi Arabia welcome the preliminary talks between the parties to the conflict in Sudan, which will be held May 6 in Saudi Jeddah, and look forward to the active participation of the parties in the negotiations to secure a ceasefire. This is according to a joint statement by the two countries, released on Friday by the press service of the US State Department.
"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States welcome the start of pre-negotiation talks between representatives of the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces·in Jeddah on May 6th 2023. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States urge both parties to take in consideration the interests of the Sudanese nation and its people and actively engage in the talks towards a cease fire and end to the conflict, which will spare the Sudanese people’s suffering and ensure the availability of humanitarian aid to affected areas," the statement says.
"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States urge continued, coordinated international support for an expanded negotiation process that should include engagement with all Sudanese parties," according to the document.
The US and Saudi Arabia also stressed "the efforts of the countries and organizations which supported these talks," including the United Kingdom and the UAE as well as the League of Arab States, the UN mission in Sudan and the African Union.
On Friday, the Asharq News TV channel that representatives from Sudan’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) had left for Jeddah in Saudi Arabia where negotiations are to kick off on Saturday.
The situation in Sudan escalated amid disagreements between the army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who also heads the ruling Sovereignty Council, and the head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (known as Hemedti), who is al-Burhan’s deputy on the council.
The main points of contention between the two military organizations pertain to the timeline and methods for unifying the armed forces of Sudan, as well as who should be appointed as commander-in-chief of the army: a career military officer, which is al-Burhan’s preferred option, or an elected civilian president, as Dagalo insists.
On April 15, armed clashes between the rival military factions erupted near a military base in Merowe and in the capital, Khartoum. More than 600 people have been killed in the country since the fighting began, according to the Health Ministry.