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Sudan's army, paramilitary RSF sign seven-day ceasefire agreement

Smoke rises above buildings after an aerial bombardment, during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army in Khartoum North, Sudan, May 1, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Sudan's army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have signed a seven-day ceasefire agreement, following six weeks of relatively incessant fighting that has claimed hundreds of lives.

The deal, which was mediated by Saudi Arabia and the United States, was inked by both sides to the conflict on Saturday, and is scheduled to enter into force within 48 hours at 9:45 p.m. Khartoum time (1945 GMT) on Monday.

The conflict in the North African country represents a power struggle between army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who heads the RSF.

The armed conflict between the army and paramilitary forces has so far killed more than 700 people, wounded at least 5,287 others, and displaced more than a million.

The ceasefire's mediators said in a joint statement that the deal was reached following talks in the Saudi port city of Jeddah, adding that the ceasefire "shall remain in effect for seven days and may be extended with the agreement of both parties."

The statement noted that the new agreement will be enforced by a US-Saudi and internationally-supported monitoring mechanism.

It said subsequent talks "will focus on additional steps necessary to improve security and humanitarian conditions for civilians such as vacating forces from urban centers, including civilian homes, accelerating removal of impediments to the free movement of civilians and humanitarian actors, and enabling public servants to resume their regular duties."

The new agreement came after multiple previous instances of truce between the two sides have been violated since the fighting broke out.

Later on Saturday, Sudan's Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), a coalition of political parties supporting democratic rule in the country, welcomed the truce deal.

"We call for full commitment to Jeddah 'Declaration of Principles' and to the short-term ceasefire agreement as well as humanitarian arrangements" the FFC said in a statement.

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