Resuming Sudan negotiations in Jeddah: Idealism of international community and complexity of the Sudanese scene

Resuming Sudan negotiations in Jeddah: Idealism of international community and complexity of the Sudanese scene
Sudanese Protesters Outside Downing Street Protesting against the war in Sudan between the Military and the RSF- Shutterstock

The Saudi-American mediation in the Jeddah negotiations between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) announced on Sunday, October 29, the official start of talks between the warring parties to discuss three issues, including the possibility of stopping hostilities between the two parties.


A statement issued by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on X said, “The facilitators, namely the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United States of America, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), and the African Union, announce the start of talks between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces in the city of Jeddah.” 


The statement explained that the discussions are limited only to facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid, achieving a ceasefire, and the possibility of reaching a permanent cessation of hostilities.


It stressed that the negotiations will not address issues of a political nature. It also pointed out that both parties to the conflict agreed that only the facilitators would be the sole joint official spokesperson for the talks.


A statement issued by the US State Department explained that the talks “will not address broader political issues. Sudan’s civilians must be the ones to define Sudan’s path going forward and play the leading role in defining a process to address political issues and restore Sudan’s democratic transition.”





Following the outbreak of armed conflict between the SAF and RSF on April 15 in the capital, Khartoum, and other cities, the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United States took the initiative to host the two parties in indirect negotiations at the Jeddah platform, but they suspended the talks at the beginning of June, following the failure of both parties to adhere to the ceasefire and to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians stranded in areas of clashes in Khartoum.


Up to 9,000 people have been reportedly killed, more than 5.6 million driven from their homes, and 25 million people need aid, according to UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths.



Conflicting opinions


In a statement to Jusoor Post, Sudanese journalist Kamel Ibrahim, who is currently in Jeddah, said that the negotiations were postponed for three days due to the contradictory positions of the two parties.


“The contradiction was stark in the statements of both parties regarding their acceptance of the invitation of the Jeddah platform mediator. While the SAF say that the Jeddah table is only concerned with how to implement what was agreed upon on May 11, the RSF statement confirmed that this round will not discuss the previous humanitarian agreement, but rather is concerned with negotiating and reaching a binding agreement to stop hostilities before embarking on any humanitarian arrangements.”


“Hence came the statements of the Saudis and the USA not to address major political issues in the negotiations, which in my opinion, is short-sighted on the part of the facilitators,” Ibrahim said.


“Whether humanitarian issues or a ceasefire, these are major political issues, especially in the case of the Sudanese conflict,” he added.


Since its inception, the Jeddah initiative set its goal as a short-term ceasefire, increasing gradually from hours to days, until it reached a week. All of them did not achieve significant progress on the ground.


In previous rounds, the SAF adhered to the condition that the RSF had to withdraw from residential neighborhoods and citizens’ homes before the start of negotiations, which caused the negotiations to be suspended for months before the army representatives withdrew.