UN Security Council calls for Sudan Ramadan ceasefire

UN Security Council calls for Sudan Ramadan ceasefire
The UN Security Council urged Sudan’s warring parties to immediately halt hostilities during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
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The UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted a draft resolution Friday that demands an immediate cease-fire in Sudan during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at UN Headquarters in New York [Getty]

The United Nations Security Council called Friday for a ceasefire in Sudan to coincide with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as conditions in the country continue to deteriorate.

Fourteen countries backed the resolution, proposed by Britain, with only Russia abstaining on the vote that called on "all parties to the conflict to seek a sustainable resolution to the conflict through dialogue."

Fighting has been raging in Sudan since April 15, 2023, pitting the army of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan against the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, the former number two in the military establishment.

It has left thousands dead and millions displaced.

The text calls on all sides to adopt an immediate "cessation of hostilities" ahead of Ramadan, a time for fasting, prayer and reflection for Muslims worldwide.

It also calls on the warring parties to allow "unhindered" humanitarian access across borders and battle lines.

Sudan's ambassador to the UN said Burhan had welcomed the initiative, but questioned how a ceasefire could be enforced should RSF forces continue to attack "civilian" areas.

At a Security Council meeting on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for "all parties in Sudan to honor the values of Ramadan by honoring a Ramadan cessation of hostilities."

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"This cessation of hostilities must lead to a definitive silencing of the guns across the country, and set out a firm path towards lasting peace for the Sudanese people," he added.

Guterres warned of a humanitarian crisis of "colossal proportions."

 'Road to famine' 

Britain subsequently announced it would seek the resolution echoing his appeal.

Russia said Britain's initiative was hypocritical since the Security Council had failed to call for an immediate ceasefire in the Israeli war in Gaza, because of Washington repeatedly wielding its veto.

Humanitarian access in Sudan needs to be improved whether or not a ceasefire is declared, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said Friday.

He complained that his teams faced "quite extraordinary problems of access" and called on all sides to come to the table for talks.

The conflict has now displaced 8.3 million people, 1.7 million of whom have fled abroad, he added.

Half of the country's 50 million people are in need of humanitarian aid, and "just under 18 million people are on the road to famine," Griffiths said, adding that 10 million more people "are in the category of food insecure than the same time last year."

To prevent further deterioration, more food needs to be brought in, along with seeds to plant for future harvests, he added.

The UN's $2.7 billion humanitarian response plan for Sudan in 2024 is currently only 4 percent funded.

"We have no money," Griffiths said, and "we want to put Sudan on the map."