The United States and Saudi Arabia welcomed the commencement of ”pre-negotiation talks” between Sudan’s warring parties on Friday.
According to a joint statement, representatives from Sudan’s armed services and the paramilitary Rapid Support services (RSF) will begin direct negotiations in Jeddah on May 6.
For weeks, the African nation has been immersed in bloodshed, with fighting between the army and the RSF.
Both Washington and Riyadh urged both parties to actively engage in talks aimed at reaching a cease-fire and ending the conflict.
They also called for continuing, coordinated international support for an enlarged negotiating process that includes participation by all Sudanese parties.
Fighting erupted on April 15 between two opposing generals, army head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF commander Mohammed Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo, killing around 550 people.
In recent months, the two sides had been at odds over the incorporation of the RSF into the military forces, which was a fundamental requirement of Sudan’s transition deal with political groupings.
Sudan has been without a functioning government since October 20, 2021, when the military deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s transitional government and established a state of emergency, a move that political forces condemned as a “coup.”
The transitional period, which began in August 2019 with President Omar al-Bashir’s removal, was supposed to culminate with elections in early 2024.