UN secretary general António Guterres will hold a virtual meeting on Thursday with the AU chairperson, the secretary general of the Arab League, the executive secretary of the East African bloc, IGAD, and other leaders on the Sudan crisis.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told journalists at the UN headquarters on Wednesday that Mr Guterres would meet with other relevant organisations, to discuss ways the international community could help end the violence and restore order inside Sudan.
Mr Dujarric said the UN chief spoke earlier in the day to President William Ruto of Kenya and with the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki.
“Obviously, he will continue to be fully engaged, making phone calls, trying to secure a 24-hour ceasefire, which will enable a much-needed reprieve to all affected civilians in Khartoum,” he said.
The UN special representative in Sudan, Volker Perthes, also continued engagement with parties on the ground, key Sudanese leaders and member states to secure an immediate de-escalation in the fighting.
The crisis between the Sudanese armed forces and formerly allied Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitaries emerged as the country appeared to be returning to democratic transition. The sides are at odds over the process of restoring civilian rule
The deadly clashes erupted on Saturday. On Tuesday, an initial 24-hour ceasefire, announced for 6:00 p.m. local time, collapsed within minutes of the deadline.
The parties committed to a new 24-hour truce on Wednesday, also beginning at 6:00 p.m. local time, but some international media reported that shelling had continued.
The UN, AU and IGAD – known as the trilateral mechanism – issued a statement appealing to the sides “to create necessary conditions during this period for the civilians to seek safe shelter, food and medical care.”
Mr Dujarric said the continued heavy fighting is having devastating consequences for civilians, as well as UN staff and other members of the international community.
“We reiterate to the parties to the conflict that they must respect international law,” he said. “They are obliged to protect civilians and ensure the safety and security of all United Nations and associated personnel as well as their premises, our assets, and trapped civilians must be able to receive assistance, access essential supplies and evacuated to safer zones as needed.”
As the crisis deepens, humanitarians warn that people are running out of food, fuel and other vital supplies, and many urgently need medical care.
“We desperately need a humanitarian pause so that wounded and sick civilians can reach hospitals,” Mr Dujarric stated, adding, “People in Khartoum have been unable to safely leave their homes to buy food and other essential items for days.”