Warring military forces battling for control of Sudan have agreed to hold off on hostilities for a further five days in a conflict that has killed almost 900 people and forced more than 1 million people to flee the country. File photo by Khaled Elfiqi/EPA-EFE
May 30 (UPI) -- The warring sides in Sudan have extended a cease-fire brokered by Saudi Arabia and the United States for a further five days to allow more time for vital humanitarian work to be completed.
Representatives of the Sudan Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces signed the extension to a cease-fire first agreed on May 20 in the Saudi city of Jeddah on Monday, the Saudi Foreign Ministry announced in a post on Twitter.
"The parties affirmed their intention to use the five-day extension to implement provisions of the first cease-fire that were not fully achieved, including further deliveries of humanitarian assistance, facilitation of essential services repair and evacuation of armed actors from hospitals," the joint announcement said.
Saudi Arabia and the United States condemned the continued airstrikes, attacks and prohibited movements seen in the past week, telling the two sides that they did not want to see a repeat of the breaches during the five-day extension.
The communique also reminded the parties of their obligations under the May 20 short-term cease-fire and their earlier Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan, signed in Jeddah on May 11.
Both sides blamed each other for the violations and the BBC reported heavy clashes Monday before the cease-fire's expiry. The regular army and rival Rapid Support Forces have been exchanging artillery fire in areas near the capital, Khartoum, in an effort to capture more territory, according to people living there.
The SAF and RSF also agreed to talks to negotiate a longer-term cease-fire, possibly involving the withdrawal of their forces from urban areas including people's homes that have been occupied, freeing up the movement of civilians and humanitarian aid and enabling government employees to return to work.
The cease-fire extension came as a United Nations report warned the conflict was already driving mass displacement and hunger with more than 1 million citizens and refugees expected to flee Sudan, while an additional 2.5 million who remain are set to face acute hunger in coming months.
The report warned a possible spillover of the crisis raised the risk of impacts in neighboring countries with further displacement and disruptions to trade and humanitarian aid flows if the fighting is not halted.