THE STORY CONTINUES AFTER THESE SALTWIRE FILES
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Reuters) – U.S. president Joe Biden paved a way for new sanctions against Sudan on Thursday by calling the country’s raging political struggle a “betrayal” of its citizens.
Biden signed a executive order that laid the groundwork for possible sanctions, as his intelligence chief warned the conflict between Sudan’s military and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.
On Thursday, fierce fighting broke out in the center of Khartoum as the army attempted to drive the RSF away from the areas surrounding the presidential palace and the army headquarters. The ceasefire was to last seven days.
Biden stated that the violence in Sudan was a tragedy and betrayed the Sudanese’s demand for a civilian government and a democratic transition.
He said Washington will continue to use diplomacy in order to create a “durable ceasefire”, allow humanitarian access and assist American citizens remaining in the country.
Biden stated that the United States has already responded to this humanitarian crisis, and is ready to provide enhanced humanitarian aid when conditions permit.
It may take some time. Avril haines, the director of national intelligence in the United States, told the Senate Armed Services Committee members that the fighting is likely to last a long time because both sides are confident they can win militarily. They have little incentive to negotiate.
The U.N. warned that the fighting that erupted in April 15 could cause a humanitarian disaster that could spread to other countries.
Sudan announced on Tuesday that 4,926 people have been injured and 550 killed in the conflict. U.N. reports that about 100,000 people fled Sudan to neighboring countries with little water or food.
Haines stated that the fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces in Sudan is likely to continue for a long time as both sides are confident they can win on the battlefield and have little incentive to negotiate.
She continued that both sides are looking for “external support” which, if it is forthcoming, will “likely intensify the conflict, and increase the potential spillover challenges to the region.”
Haines said that the violence is aggravating “already dire humanitarian conditions” and forcing aid organizations to cut back on operations due to growing concerns about “massive refugees flows.”
Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Daphne Psaledakis. Editing by Alistair Bell, David Gregorio and Jonathan Landay.