G7 foreign ministers on Tuesday urged warring forces in Sudan to “end hostilities immediately” and return to negotiations, after clashes that have killed almost 200 people.
A weeks-long power struggle exploded into deadly violence Saturday between the forces of two generals who seized power in a 2021 coup: Sudanese army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
The surge in violence forced the issue onto the agenda as the top G7 diplomats met in the Japanese town of Karuizawa for talks.
“We urge the parties to end hostilities immediately without pre-conditions,” they said in a statement issued after their discussions.
They warned that the fighting “threatens the security and safety of Sudanese civilians and undermines efforts to restore Sudan’s democratic transition.”
The group urged a return to negotiations and called on all sides to “take active steps to reduce tensions and ensure the safety of all civilians, including diplomatic and humanitarian personnel.”
Earlier Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with the generals leading the two warring factions and urged them to agree to a ceasefire, the State Department said.
A US diplomatic convoy was fired upon in Sudan, but those inside were unharmed, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday.
“I can confirm that yesterday we had an American diplomatic convoy that was fired on. All of our people are safe and unharmed. But this action was reckless, it was irresponsible and of course unsafe,” he told reporters in Japan after G7 talks.
Analysts say the fighting in the capital of the chronically unstable country is unprecedented and could be prolonged, despite regional and global calls for a ceasefire as diplomats mobilise.
Battles have also taken place throughout the vast country, and there are fears of regional spillover.
Terrified residents of the capital are spending the last and holiest days of Ramadan watching from their windows as tanks roll through the streets, buildings shake, and smoke from fires triggered by the fighting hangs in the air.
The conflict has seen air strikes, artillery and heavy gunfire.
Those compelled to venture out face queues for bread and petrol at outlets which are not shuttered. Residents are also dealing with power outages.
Volker Perthes, the head of the United Nations mission to Sudan, told the Security Council in a closed-door session, that at least 185 people have been killed and another 1,800 wounded.
“It’s a very fluid situation so it’s very difficult to say where the balance is shifting to,” Perthes told reporters after the meeting.
Earlier Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres again called on Sudan’s warring parties to “immediately cease hostilities”. He warned that further escalation “could be devastating for the country and the region.”