Statements to the media by United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, on the situation in Sudan.
Full Statement: Good afternoon. We have just finished a meeting convened by the African Union on the dramatic situation in Sudan, bringing together the United Nations, the League of Arab States, IGAD [The Intergovernmental Authority on Development] and the European Union, as well as representatives from a number of countries that are deeply committed to solving the crisis. There was a strong consensus on condemning the ongoing fighting in Sudan and calling for a cessation of hostilities. As an immediate priority, I appeal for a ceasefire to take place for at least three days, marking the Eid al-Fitr celebrations, to allow civilians trapped in conflict zones to escape and to seek medical treatment, food and other essential supplies. This must be the first step in providing respite from the fighting and paving the way for a permanent ceasefire. I have been personally engaged in doing everything possible to make it happen. The cessation of hostilities must be followed by serious dialogue allowing for the successful transition, starting with the appointment of a civilian government. The fighting must stop immediately. I am deeply concerned about the terrible toll on civilians, the appalling humanitarian situation, and the horrifying prospect of further escalation. Hundreds of people have been killed and injured. Fighting in urban areas is particularly dangerous for civilians, including children, who have repeatedly been forced to shelter in schools and evacuate from hospitals under fire. This is completely outrageous. Humanitarian operations are virtually impossible. Warehouses, vehicles and other humanitarian assets have been attacked, looted and seized. Targeting humanitarian workers and assets must end. I remind all parties of their obligations under international law, including ensuring the safety and security of humanitarian aid workers. I am also extremely worried about the situation of United Nations personnel, many of whom are trapped in their homes in areas of active conflict. We are doing everything in our power to be able to support them. I will continue to use my good offices, in close coordination with our partners, to establish a ceasefire, deescalate tensions and start political talks. The United Nations stands with the Sudanese people, in full support of their wishes for a peaceful, secure future and a return to the democratic transition. Thank you.
Q: Two ceasefires – two attempted ceasefires - have come and gone. What will be the catalyst for this third attempt to succeed?
SG: I think there is a strong reason - all parties to the conflict are Muslim. We are living in a very important moment in the Muslim calendar. I think this is the right moment for a ceasefire to hold. This ceasefire is absolutely crucial at the present moment. We have been in contact with the parties, we believe it is possible, but everybody must be united in putting pressure for the ceasefire to take effectively place. Thank you.