International community expresses concern over Sudan crisis as conflict spreads to new areas
ADDIS ABABA, Sudan - The international community has expressed concern over the continued fighting in Sudan as the conflict spreads into new areas.
Members of the Expanded Mechanism for the Resolution of the Conflict in Sudan made the call in its joint declaration issued late Thursday following its recent meeting convened by the African Union (AU), according to a statement issued Thursday by the AU.
The expanded mechanism "expressed our grave concern at the continuing conflict in Sudan, which is spreading to new areas hitherto unaffected by the fighting, with credible reports of grave crimes, in particular, war crimes, crimes against humanity and sexual assault," the statement read.
It reiterated that there can be no sustainable military solution to the crisis in Sudan, and only an inclusive, representative, Sudanese-owned and Sudanese-led dialogue among all Sudanese stakeholders can lead to a peaceful and sustainable solution to the crisis.
It further demanded that the parties to the conflict in Sudan, namely the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), to "immediately agree to a comprehensive and unconditional ceasefire and return to the negotiating table in order to seek a peaceful return to a transition to civilian constitutional rule in Sudan."
The expanded mechanism brought together representatives from the AU, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the United Nations, the League of Arab States, the European Union, the permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC), the African members of the UNSC, Sudan's neighboring countries, countries designated by the IGAD to engage the belligerents, and Comoros, among others.
The expanded mechanism expressed grave concern at credible reports of atrocity crimes throughout Sudan, and stress that accountability must be part of any response in the search for peace in Sudan, to ensure justice and healing for victims and affected communities.
It further demanded that the parties to the conflict in Sudan to facilitate safe humanitarian access and ensure the protection of civilians, in line with international humanitarian law and international human rights law as well as the provisions of the agreements already reached in the Jeddah talks.
It commended countries neighboring Sudan, which have welcomed large numbers of Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers, and further urges increased international financial and logistical support to host countries and communities.
It further stressed the need for countries of the region and beyond to maintain neutrality and to refrain from providing military, political or financial support to the conflicting parties in the country. - XINHUA