Fri, 29 Sep 2023

US Sanctions Sudan Truce Violators

Voice of America
02 Jun 2023, 04:05 GMT+10

The United States issued economic and travel sanctions Thursday on combatants violating cease-fire agreements in Sudan, imposing restrictions on visas and cutting off financial sources for both the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

In a statement, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said, despite a cease-fire agreement currently in place, "senseless violence has continued across the country - hindering the delivery of humanitarian assistance and hurting those who need it most."

The two sides signed a U.S.-Saudi-brokered seven-day cease fire May 20 intended to allow for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. They agreed to a five-day extension May 29.

Sullivan said the failure of the SAF and RSF to abide by the cease fire only further deepens our concern that the people of Sudan will once again face a protracted conflict and widespread suffering at the hands of security forces.

In a statement, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the economic sanctions are targeting four companies generating revenue from, and contributing directly to, the conflict in Sudan, with two of the companies affiliated with the SAF and two with the RSF.

Yellen said in her statement, the sanctions cut off key financial flows for both parties, depriving them of resources needed to pay soldiers, rearm, resupply and wage war in Sudan.

Speaking to reporters earlier the day from Oslo, Norway, before the sanctions were formally announced, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said clear violations were observed on both sides in the conflict and warned the U.S. was considering the actions.

Blinken said the U.S. will continue to be engaged and work toward a solution to the conflict. Earlier in the day, a U.S. State Department spokesman said the United States is ready to facilitate discussions between Sudan's warring sides if they show a commitment to abiding by a cease fire.

The statement came a day after Sudan's military broke off talks and accused rival paramilitary forces of repeatedly violating the truce.

The United States and Saudi Arabia are monitoring implementation of the cease fire and have said both sides have violated it.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council met Wednesday in a 90-minute-long, closed-door session at the request of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. It is only the fifth time in his more than five-year tenure that he has requested such a meeting.

"We are facing a dramatic situation in Sudan, both on the political and the humanitarian end, and the secretary-general wanted to share some thoughts that he has with council members," his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters.

Sudan's capital, Khartoum, has been mired in violence since April 15, when fighting broke out between the army and the paramilitary fighters after relations broke down between military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF chief General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

The two generals are former allies who together orchestrated an October 2021 military coup that derailed a transition to civilian rule following the 2019 ouster of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir.

Tensions between the generals had been growing over disagreements about how the RSF should be integrated in the army and who should oversee that process. The restructuring of the military was part of an effort to restore the country to civilian rule and end the political crisis sparked by the 2021 coup.

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