Jun 1, 2023 - World

Sudan cease-fire talks suspended, U.S. imposes sanctions

Destroyed vehicles are pictured outside the burnt-down headquarters of Sudan's Central Bureau of Statistics, on al-Sittin (sixty) road in the south of Khartoum

Destroyed vehicles are pictured outside the burnt-down headquarters of Sudan's Central Bureau of Statistic in Khartoum. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday that they were suspending cease-fire talks between the warring Sudanese military and Rapid Support Forces militia, saying both sides had repeatedly committed "serious violations" of the truce.

Driving the news: The talks broke down on Wednesday after the Sudanese military said it was pulling out of the negotiations, which began last month in Jeddah. The military accused the RSF of violating the truce and failing to implement the commitments it had made during the negotiations. The RSF accused the military of violating the cease-fire first.

  • The two sides have announced multiple cease-fires or extended existing truces over the last six weeks, but fighting often continued across the country.
  • Since the conflict began in April, more than 850 civilians have been killed and nearly 1.4 million people have been displaced.

What they're saying: "This decision [to suspend the talks] comes as a result of repeated serious violations of the ceasefire by the Sudanese army and the RSF," the U.S. and Saudi Arabia said in a statement.

  • Saudi and U.S. mediators told the Sudanese army and the RSF that they needed to take to steps that demonstrate a meaningful commitment to the Jeddah talks and implement confidence-building measures prior to resuming the negotiations, the statement said.
  • "Saudi Arabia and the United States stand ready to reconvene the Jeddah talks once the parties have taken the necessary steps", they added.

The big picture: In a separate move on Thursday, the Biden administration also announced new sanctions on Sudanese companies and visa restrictions on officials it said were affiliated with the Sudanese military or the RSF.

  • The sanctions came after President Biden last month signed an executive order allowing his administration to impose sanctions on individuals and entities involved in the fighting in Sudan.
  • It's the first time the U.S. has announced sanctions related to the latest conflict in Sudan.

State of play: The Department of Treasury designated a gold-mining company it said was affiliated with the RSF. A senior U.S. official told reporters the RSF used the revenue from the gold mines to buy weapons.

  • A second company the Biden administration said was affiliated with the RSF and involved in the procurement of equipment for the militia was sanctioned as well.

The Department of Treasury also designated a Sudanese government-controlled company, which is in control of several other companies involved in producing weapons and vehicles for the Sudanese military, the Biden administration said.

  • A defense industries company the U.S. said was affiliated with the Sudanese military was sanctioned as well.

Additionally, the State Department imposed visa bans on Sudanese individuals from the army and the RSF, as well as leaders tied to the regime of former leader Omar al-Bashir.

  • Asked by reporters why the U.S. wasn't sanctioning the two warring generals — Army chief Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and RSF head Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo — the senior U.S. official pointed to the visa ban decision, but wouldn't confirm if the generals were on the list.
  • “Visa records are confidential under U.S. law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases," a State Department spokesperson said.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement that the failure of the Sudanese army and the RSF to abide by the ceasefire "only further deepens our concern that the people of Sudan will once again face a protracted conflict and widespread suffering at the hands of the security forces."

  • "The Sudanese people did not ask for this war. The U.S. will continue to stand with them. We will continue to support their rightful demand for a transition to democracy. And working with our partners, we will continue to hold the belligerent parties accountable for their unconscionable violence," Sullivan said.

Go deeper: How a rivalry between generals sparked a battle to control Sudan

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