WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. assistant secretary of State for African affairs, Molly Phee, will travel to Addis Ababa on Monday and Tuesday to meet with African leaders and Sudanese civilians on how to end the conflict in Sudan, the State Department said on Sunday.
Diplomatic efforts to halt fighting between Sudan’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have so far proved ineffective, with competing initiatives creating confusion over how the warring parties might be brought to negotiate.
The fighting that erupted on April 15 in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, has driven more than 2.9 million people from their homes, including almost 700,000 who have fled to neighboring countries, many of which were already struggling with poverty and internal conflicts.
“We call on the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to immediately end the fighting and return to the barracks; adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law; and allow unhindered humanitarian access to meet the emergency needs of civilians,” the State Department said in a statement.
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During her travel, Phee will meet with Sudanese civilians and with senior representatives of governments in the region, the East African bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the African Union Commission, according to the State Department.
There were clashes on Sunday between the army and the RSF in El Obeid, southwest of Khartoum, as well as in the south of the capital, residents said. Egypt said on Sunday it would host a summit of Sudan’s neighbors on July 13 to discuss ways to end the conflict between the rival Sudanese military factions.
Talks hosted in Jeddah and sponsored by the United States and Saudi Arabia were suspended last month, while a mediation attempt by East African countries was criticized by the army as it accused Kenya of bias.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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