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U.S. suspends temporary cease-fire in Sudan, announces new sanctions

A short-term ceasefire between two warring factions in Sudan has been suspended, the United States and Saudi Arabia announced in a joint statement Thursday. The announcement came hours after the U.S. announced new sanctions against companies and individuals affiliated with both the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group.

 

The suspension came as a result of “repeated serious violations” of the terms, impacting humanitarian aid deliveries and the restoration of essential services, the joint statement said.

 

The cease-fire, brokered by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, went into effect on May 22 and stipulated that the SAF and RSF would agree to scale back fighting that has killed more than 1,800 people since April, according to the latest numbers from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. The groups had also agreed to assist with humanitarian aid deliveries and the withdrawal of forces from hospitals and other essential public sites.

The cease-fire was extended on May 29 for five days, and negotiations had been taking place in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah in the hopes of reaching a permanent end to the fighting.

 

Noting that the cease-fire initially led to some reduction in fighting, the statement said that both parties nevertheless committed “serious” violations of the terms, including the “occupation of civilian homes, private businesses, public buildings, and hospitals, as well as air and artillery strikes, attacks, and prohibited movements.”

 

Aid-carrying trucks had been obstructed and warehouses looted in areas controlled by both parties, the statement said.

 

Several previous cease-fires had also been violated throughout the conflict.

 

The U.S. Treasury Department earlier Thursday also announced economic sanctions against two companies affiliated with the SAF and two with the Rapid Support Forces. The companies are accused of generating revenue in support of armed violence, Secretary Blinken said in a statement.

The State Department also imposed visa restrictions against officials it said were culpable for the violence and for undermining Sudan’s democratic transition, a senior administration official said.

 

President Biden views the violence as a betrayal of nationwide protesters’ demands for a civilian government and a tradition of democracy, the senior official said, noting that the recent fighting has been accompanied by reports of intensifying rapes of young women and girls as well as 1 million internally displaced people and 375,000 refugees who have fled to other countries.

 

The violence has caused significant destruction in Sudan’s capital city of Khartoum and the neighboring city of Obdurman.

 

In April, the U.S. military successfully evacuated U.S. diplomatic staff from Sudan and shuttered the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. Hundreds of U.S. civilians have also been evacuated.

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