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UN’s top humanitarian official Martin Griffiths in Jeddah for Sudan talks

AFP, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Damaged car and buildings are seen at the central market during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army in Khartoum North, Sudan, on April 27, 2023. (Reuters)

The UN’s top humanitarian official arrived in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah on Sunday for talks aiming for a ceasefire between Sudan’s warring generals, a spokesperson said.

“Martin Griffiths is in Jeddah at the moment and the purpose of his visit is to engage in humanitarian issues related to Sudan,” spokesperson Eri Kaneko said.

Fighting that broke out in Sudan on April 15 between army and paramilitary forces has killed at least 700 people, most of them civilians, wounded thousands and driven a mass exodus of Sudanese and foreign nationals.

A UN official said Griffiths would meet representatives of the two generals at the heart of the conflict, army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who heads the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

There was no indication that Griffiths would play a direct role in discussions about a possible ceasefire.

Sudanese and Saudi officials have provided scant details about what the talks will cover and how long they will last.

A joint US-Saudi statement on Saturday described the meetings in Jeddah as “pre-negotiation talks.”

Saudi Arabia has assumed a high-profile role in evacuations from Sudan, dispatching naval and commercial vessels to bring thousands of civilians across the Red Sea from the Sudanese coastal city of Port Sudan.

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