Blinken: Sudan’s warring factions will observe three-day ceasefire

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that warring military factions in Sudan have agreed to implement a three-day, nationwide ceasefire beginning at midnight local time, after intensive fighting throughout the capital Khartoum that has killed hundreds of people, wounded thousands and prompted the evacuation of U.S. and international diplomats. 

Blinken, in a statement, said the U.S. urges the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces to “immediately and fully uphold the ceasefire,” following more than a week of fighting where other attempts to halt hostilities have failed to take hold. 

The secretary said the U.S. is working with regional, international and local, civilian Sudanese partners to create a committee to “to oversee the negotiation, conclusion, and implementation of a permanent cessation of hostilities and humanitarian arrangements in Sudan.

“We will continue to work with the Sudanese parties and our partners toward the shared goal of a return to civilian government in Sudan,” the secretary said. 

Fighting broke out in mid-April between rival military groups headed by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who has the support of Sudan’s Armed Forces, and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, who has control of the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces.

The World Health Organization said Friday that more than 400 people have been killed in the fighting and more than 3,000 wounded. 

Burhan had taken control of the country in a military coup in October 2021, suppressing a civilian-military transitional government that was put in place following a grassroots revolution in early 2019 that ousted decades-long strongman Omar al-Bashir. 

Thousands of people are reportedly fleeing Khartoum amid the military conflict. The U.S. military on Sunday carried out a high-stakes evacuation of nearly 100 government personnel from the U.S. embassy in the capital.

And while U.S. officials have said they don’t have a plan to launch a large-scale evacuation of American citizens, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday that there are “intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets” operating over the land evacuation route from Khartoum to the Port of Sudan to help facilitate safe travel for anyone fleeing the capital, to include Americans.  

There’s no clear number of how many Americans are in Sudan, since Americans are not required to register with U.S. facilities when traveling abroad, even as they are encouraged to sign up for the State Department’s STEP travel program, which provides alerts and security warnings. 

One congressional source said the State Department estimates that it is aware of at least 16,000 Americans, with many of these being dual Sudanese-American nationals. 

Sullivan said the U.S. is following convoys leaving Khartoum to travel to the Port of Sudan, which are carrying American citizens, and that the U.S. is using diplomatic facilities in neighboring countries to help facilitate Americans’ travel from Sudan. 

“We anticipate that this route will continue to be available for Americans who are looking to leave and convoys continue to get organized, depart Khartoum and arrive at the port of Sudan,” he said.

The U.S. has also moved naval assets “for any potential contingencies off the coast of the port of Sudan,” he continued.

“Those are the major ways in which right now we are providing the kind of support and facilitation to help Americans who want to leave, be able to leave and Americans are in the process of availing themselves of that.” 

Tags Antony Blinken Antony Blinken Jake Sullivan Omar al-Bashir state department Sudan

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