Saudi Arabia and the US have invited the warring parties to Jeddah in an effort to reach an understanding on a ceasefire as the capital of Sudan, Khartoum, has changed from a peaceful city to a war zone. However, as Sudan expert Alex de Waal points out, it will only be a temporary, emergency measure.
The format and agenda of the emergency talks must be decided, and that decision will determine how the peace process in Sudan proceeds all the way to its successful conclusion.
The American and Saudi diplomats will only negotiate with the rival generals who have each sent a three-person negotiating team to Jeddah in an effort to put a stop to the shooting.
A humanitarian cease-fire, a monitoring system, and aid delivery routes are on the agenda. No one wants to start discussions aimed at reaching a political compromise.
The mediators must win their trust and reassure them that making concessions now won’t leave them exposed and defenseless.
The drawback is that the two warring parties will then insist on controlling the agenda and taking center stage in political negotiations.
Burhan and Hemedti, as well as the Arab neighbors, all concur that they do not want a democratic government, which was expected before the fighting started. Since Bashir was overthrown in 2019, the two military leaders had been in charge, refusing to cede authority to civilians.
Many Sudanese believe that the international community abandoned them when they most needed help, so they demand that local, volunteer efforts like these serve as the cornerstone of any aid program.
There is a chance that warlords will use aid as a resource and use hunger as a weapon of war.
Aid organizations will need to devise strategies to get around them and assist civilians directly.
The war in Sudan is getting worse, and there are no easy answers. Before things get better, they might get much worse.
Furthermore, it is likely that whatever decisions are made during the ceasefire negotiations – regarding who is represented, under what circumstances, and with what objectives – will have a long-term impact on the nation.