UN Chief Calls for Sudan Ramadan Cease-Fire

United Nations — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed Thursday for a cease-fire in Sudan for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, saying it is time for rival generals there to lay down their weapons as the country’s humanitarian crisis reaches “colossal proportions.”

“I call on all parties in Sudan to honor the values of Ramadan by honoring a Ramadan cessation of hostilities,” Guterres told a meeting of the Security Council on the situation in Sudan. Ramadan starts early next week. 

“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. 

He said the country’s unity is at risk and there is a serious risk of the war igniting regional instability “of dramatic proportions” from the Sahel to the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea. 

Fighting erupted in April of last year between Sudan’s army chief, General Abdel Fattah Burhan, and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. The two generals were once allies in Sudan’s transitional government after a 2021 coup but became rivals for power.

The ensuing power struggle has led to thousands of deaths, a massive displacement crisis and large-scale atrocities, particularly against non-Arab communities in the country’s Darfur region. Hunger is also reaching catastrophic levels. 


“We are already receiving reports of children dying from malnutrition,” Guterres said.

He said U.N. efforts to reach millions in need have faced numerous challenges and the parties must comply with the Jeddah Declaration, which calls for full aid access by land and air to all populations regardless of who controls the area. 

Britain, which is in charge of Sudan issues on the 15-nation council, circulated a draft resolution echoing the secretary-general’s cease-fire call and calling for more aid access. 

“The situation in Sudan warrants a robust response from this council and increased attention from the international community,” Deputy Ambassador James Kariuki told the council. “As we approach the holy month of Ramadan, we echo the secretary-general’s call for an immediate cease-fire and urge all parties to allow for unhindered cross-border and cross-line access.” 

He told reporters Britain plans to put the resolution to a Security Council vote on Friday.

On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said countries supplying the rival generals with arms are fueling “death, destruction and depravity.” 

She said a report released this week from a panel of experts monitoring implementation of sanctions imposed by the Security Council on Sudan chronicled “stomach-churning” atrocities. 

“A conflict that, as this report details, is being fueled by arms transferred from a handful of regional powers — arms transfers that must stop,” she told reporters. 

The United Nations says around 25 million people — half of Sudan’s population — need some form of humanitarian assistance. Of them, 18 million face acute food insecurity.

Sudan is now home to the world’s largest internal displacement crisis, with 6.3 million people forced from their homes in search of safety. Another 1.7 million have fled to neighboring countries. More than 70% of health facilities in areas where there is fighting have stopped functioning. 

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