Sudan, UAE envoys clash at UN

United Nations — The representatives of Sudan and the United Arab Emirates clashed Tuesday at the U.N. Security Council over Khartoum’s accusations that Abu Dhabi is providing arms and other support to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, fueling a brutal war in Sudan.  

“The UAE must stay away from Sudan!” Sudan’s ambassador, Al-Harith Idriss Al-Harith Mohamed, told the council. “That is the first requirement that will allow for stability in Sudan. It must stop its support.” 

Mohamed accused the UAE of assisting RSF forces through militias in Chad, southern Libya and central Africa, adding that Sudan has submitted copies of a half dozen UAE passports found on the battlefield in Khartoum to the council to back up their claims of Emirati interference. He also said, without providing evidence, that wounded RSF fighters are being airlifted to Dubai for medical treatment. 

Emirati Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab, who was seated beside his Sudanese counterpart at the 15-nation council’s horseshoe-shaped table, during the meeting on the situation in Sudan, called the allegations “ludicrous.” 

“We see this as a shameful abuse by one of the warring parties of Sudan of this Council — using this platform to spread false allegations against the UAE to distract from the grave violations that are happening on the ground,” the Emirati ambassador said. 

The UAE has repeatedly denied sending arms to the RSF, but Tuesday was the first time their envoy had responded in person to the accusations at a council meeting. 

A report by a U.N. panel of experts earlier this year said there was substance to media reports that cargo planes originating in the UAE capital had landed in eastern Chad with arms, ammunition and medical equipment destined for the paramilitary group. 

Sudan’s envoy asked the council to act. 

“I ask your esteemed council to speak bravely and to take the last required step, which is to openly mention and condemn the UAE so that it would stop this war,” Ambassador Mohamed said. 

The United States has expressed concern about regional and international interference in Sudan. 

“We must also continue calling on external actors to stop fueling and prolonging this conflict, and enabling these atrocities, by sending weapons to Sudan,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said at Tuesday’s meeting. 

On Friday, she told reporters on a conference call to announce an additional $315 million in humanitarian support for Sudan, that there is no military solution to the conflict. She criticized countries that are supporting the rival generals with arms and ammunition and said she had spoken with the UAE about Sudan’s allegations. She also noted that Russia and Iran are providing support to the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF). 

“We have been very, very clear with those actors, that they should cease their support for this war,” she said Friday of all external actors. “It is only exacerbating and prolonging the conflict, and it is making the situation more dire for the people of Sudan.” 

Battle for El Fasher 

Meanwhile, the situation on the ground in the North Darfur capital of El Fasher remains dire. The RSF has surrounded the city, burning and looting communities in its vicinity. They have advanced on the city, where an SAF infantry division is outnumbered and surrounded. 

“The Sudanese Armed Forces will defend El Fasher to the last soldier,” Ambassador Mohamed told reporters after the meeting. 

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says El Fasher is presently the epicenter of Sudan’s humanitarian nightmare. 

“Amid unrelenting violence and suffering, the lives of 800,000 people — of women, children, men, the elderly and people with disabilities — these lives hang in the balance,” Edem Wosornu, OCHA’s director of Operations and Advocacy, told the council. 

Without immediate decisive action, she said, the international community risks bearing witness to a repeat of the well-documented atrocities perpetrated in West Darfur’s capital, El Geneina, when the city fell to RSF troops last year. 

Human rights groups say thousands of people, mostly ethnic Masalit and members of other non-Arab communities, were massacred by the RSF, even after the city fell to the paramilitary. 

Today’s RSF has elements of the Arab Janjaweed fighters who carried out the genocide against African Zaghawa, Masalit, Fur and other non-Arab ethnic groups in Darfur in the early 2000s. 

On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution demanding the RSF halt its siege and de-escalate the fight for El Fasher and that both sides allow aid in. The resolution has so far been ignored. 

RSF chief Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo has been locked in an armed power struggle with SAF General Abdel-Fattah Burhan for the past 14 months. The fighting has spread from Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, to other parts of the country, leaving millions displaced and in dire need of food, shelter and medical care.

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