News Hamas chief blames Israel for stalled ceasefire talks, leaves door open

DUBAI: There will be no truce in Sudan in the holy month of Ramadan unless the Rapid Support Forces, also known as RSF, paramilitary group leaves the homes and sites of civilians, senior Sudanese armed forces Gen. Yasser Al-Atta said on Sunday.

The statement follows an appeal by the UN Security Council for a truce. The paramilitary RSF said it welcomed the ceasefire call.

Atta’s statement, issued on the army’s official Telegram channel, cited recent military advances by the army in Omdurman, part of Sudan’s wider capital.

It said there could be no ceasefire unless the RSF complied with a commitment made in May last year at Saudi and US-mediated talks in Jeddah to withdraw from civilian homes and public facilities.

It also said there should be no role for Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the RSF leader commonly known as Hemedti, in Sudan’s future politics or military.

War between Sudan’s army and the RSF erupted in mid-April 2023 amid tensions over a plan for transition to civilian rule. The two factions staged a coup in 2021 that derailed a previous transition following the 2019 overthrow of former leader Omar Bashir.

The army has been on the back foot militarily for much of the conflict. The RSF occupied large swaths of the capital in the first days of fighting.

The UN says nearly 25 million people — half Sudan’s population — need aid, some 8 million have fled their homes and hunger is rising. Washington says the warring parties have committed war crimes.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also urged a truce.

Sudan’s UN ambassador told the UN Security Council on Thursday that the head of the army and ruling council Abdel

Fattah Al-Burhan commended Guterres’ appeal, but was wondering how it could be implemented.

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry, which is aligned with the armed forces, said that for any ceasefire appeal to be successful, the RSF would need to withdraw from areas including El-Gezira and Sennar states and several cities in Darfur, the RSF’s stronghold.

Meanwhile, the RSF said in a statement that it hopes the resolution, adopted by the UN Security Council on Friday, would help deliver crucially needed humanitarian assistance to millions of Sudanese trapped in the fighting across the Northeastern African country.