Declaring that the fighting in Sudan “must end,” President Biden signed an executive order Thursday authorizing sanctions on people who “threaten the peace, security or stability” of the country, undermine its democratic transition, use violence against civilians or commit serious human rights abuses, APA reports citing the Washington Post.
“The violence taking place in Sudan is a tragedy — and it is a betrayal of the Sudanese people’s clear demand for civilian government and a transition to democracy,” Biden said. “I join the peace-loving people of Sudan and leaders around the world in calling for a durable cease-fire between the belligerent parties.”
A week-long cease-fire between the country’s warring generals was set to begin Thursday, according to a statement earlier this week from South Sudan’s Foreign Ministry, which brokered the agreement. But the fighting that broke out more than two weeks ago has been punctuated by at least five other cease-fire announcements, each with little effect.
The U.N.'s refugee agency has warned that more than 800,000 could flee Sudan because of the violence.
“Our diplomatic efforts to urge all parties to end the military conflict and allow unhindered humanitarian access continue, as do our efforts to assist those remaining Americans, including by providing them information on exit options,” Biden said.
The fighting in Sudan broke out April 15, with two leading generals vying for control of the country. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, universally known as Hemedti, commands the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary group with roots in an Arab militia known as the Janjaweed, which became notorious for its brutal tactics in the country’s western Darfur region beginning in 2003.
The group initially joined forces with the military, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, to oust the civilian prime minister in October 2021. But tensions between the erstwhile allies grew over how to integrate the RSF into the military as part of a plan to transition the country to civilian rule.
Since the latest outbreak of violence began, more than 100,000 refugees have fled Sudan, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced internally, U.N. officials said Tuesday at a briefing in Geneva. Intense fighting in Khartoum has left many of the capital’s residents trapped in their homes without water, food or transport.
Others have made dangerous overland journeys to Egypt, Chad, South Sudan or to Port Sudan, a port city in the east where they can board ships to cross the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia.
International actors have ramped up efforts to push the warring sides to a peace deal. But despite multiple declared cease-fires in recent weeks, the violence continues, with the two sides fighting for control of key sites and towns and seeming to hold out hope for military victory.
On Tuesday, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir announced a seven-day cease-fire, slated to begin Thursday. South Sudanese Foreign Minister Dau Deng said the two sides had agreed not to move from their positions, send reinforcements or bomb each other during that period.