UN Security Council to vote on Sudan Ramadan ceasefire callFri, 08 Mar 2024 18:39:51 GMT

The UN Security Council will vote Friday on a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Sudan to coincide with the beginning of Ramadan next week as conditions in the country continue to deteriorate.The fighting in Sudan has been raging since April 15, 2023, pitting the army of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan against the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces of General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, the former number two in the military establishment.It has left thousands dead and some eight million displaced, more than in any other world crisis.The draft text seen by AFP calls on all sides to adopt an immediate “cessation of hostilities” ahead of Ramadan, a time for fasting, prayer and reflection for Muslims worldwide.It also calls on the warring parties to allow “unhindered” humanitarian access across borders and battle lines. At a Security Council meeting on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for “all parties in Sudan to honor the values of Ramadan by honoring a Ramadan cessation of hostilities.” “This cessation of hostilities must lead to a definitive silencing of the guns across the country, and set out a firm path towards lasting peace for the Sudanese people,” he added.Guterres warned of a humanitarian crisis of “colossal proportions” with a growing threat of famine. – ‘Road to famine’ -Britain subsequently announced it would seek a resolution echoing his appeal, although Russian and Chinese backing is far from assured.”(Army chief) al-Burhan just sent a message to me, where he commends the Secretary General on his appeal,” said Sudanese ambassador to the UN Al-Harith Idriss al-Harith Mohamed. But “he’s wondering about how to do this” while the RSF paramilitaries “continue their attacks, unceasingly against the civilians”.Humanitarian access needs to be improved whether or not a ceasefire is declared, said the UN’s aid chief Martin Griffiths Friday.He complained his teams faced “quite extraordinary problems of access” and called on all sides to come to the table for talks. The conflict has now displaced 8.3 million people, 1.7 million of whom have fled abroad, he added. Half of the country’s 50 million people are in need of humanitarian aid, and “just under 18 million people are on the road to famine… 10 million more people that are in the category of food insecure than the same time last year.” To prevent further deterioration, more food needs to be brought in, along with seeds to plant for future harvests, he added. The UN’s $2.7 billion humanitarian response plan for Sudan in 2024 is currently only 4 percent funded and Griffiths lamented the lack of funds.”We have no money — we want to put Sudan on the map,” Griffiths said.While most Security Council members on Thursday supported the call for a Ramadan ceasefire, some delegations were more reserved, notably those of China and Russia.