Sky News reported that Volker Perthes – the United Nations Special Representative for Sudan – said “none of the ceasefires has been fully respected.”
Mr Perthes and his team are regrouping in Port Sudan, the new capital for peacetime.
Sky News conducted an exclusive interview with Mr Perthes in which they discussed the main points of contention regarding the crisis that has quickly engulfed the country, killing hundreds and displacing thousands of people within the first two week.
Perthes, the leader of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan(UNITAMS), is often perceived as the principal mediator between the Sudanese political parties vying to gain power after the ouster of former military dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
After a series of pro-democracy demonstrations, Abdel Fattah al Burhan, the army chief and Mohamed “Hemedti”, leader of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, teamed up to remove their former allie al Bashir.
In January 2021 Mr Perthes received a UN assignment to help with the transition from parliamentary elections to democratic ones. This transition was put on hold in October 2021 by a military coup led by generals.
Both men and the civil political opposition, with whom they have fought for control of the country, sat at the table during this time.
“In the past two weeks, no table was available to negotiate,” said Perthes. “When we were still talking about a process political, they were in the room in various forms – signatory in civilian or military form, and non-signatories. We have spoken to each of them individually.
In the early days of the fighting, Djibouti’s, South Sudan’s and Juba’s presidents offered to fly to Khartoum to lead mediation efforts.
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In a recent interview with Sky News, <a href="https://news.sky.com/story/sudans-army-chief-says-climate-for-intervention-by-african-leaders-not-suitable-as-millions-remain-trapped-12859635#:~:text=Army%20chief%20and%20de%20facto,t%20allow%20for%20their%20presence%22." In a recent interview with Sky News, a href="https://news.sky.com/story/sudans-army-chief-says climate for intervention by African leaders is not suitable as millions remain trapped-12859635#::text=Army%20chief%20and%20de%20facto,t%20allow%20for%20their%20presence%22."
There are now discussions about peace talks taking place in a neighboring country such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, or South Sudan.
“The idea is actually to bring them together physically to agree face to face on some of these modalities of ceasefire. This is more than a simple declaration that ‘we are going to stop fighting’,” said Mr Perthes.
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How could you allow this to happen? ‘
Over the last two weeks, anger and frustration have been directed at Mr Perthes. Some people believe that he underestimated the generals and ask, “How could you allow this to happen?” “, while those who think he underestimated his generals ask: “How could you have missed this?”
“We saw immense tensions between the RSF and the RSF Leadership, and we struggled to de-escalate in particular the last two weeks prior to 15 April before the outbreak hostilities,” Mr Perthes stated.
We did not expect it to happen on Saturday morning.
As if he were describing the brutal crime scene of the day before, Mr Perthes described the 24 hours that preceded the shocking morning.
“We were aware that there was a danger of a violent outbreak. On Friday afternoon, we warned against this. “We thought that we and other civil actors from Sudan had made some progress, because the two leaders agreed to form a military panel which was scheduled to meet on Saturday morning,” said he.
“We went to sleep thinking that we had de-escalated the situation a bit, but then we were awakened by the fighting.”
“Stocks of humanitarian aid were looted”
Eight tonnes of humanitarian cargo, sent by the International Committee of the Red Cross, arrived in Port Sudan early on Sunday morning.
He explained that he had a two-week delay.
He said that “much of the human aid we had on hand was stolen.”
All the warehouses of WFP [World Food Programme], UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) and others were looted in Darfur. The vehicles of the humanitarian agencies have been looted. My own office as well as the offices and agencies in many of Darfur’s towns were looted. Food trucks were stolen.
“WFP lost about 4,000 metric tonnes of humanitarian goods.” If all of this was looted, you can’t distribute it.
There are also rows of UN-branded armored vehicles and white containers with the UN logo.
Perthes stated that the UN personnel and personnel who were involved in this mission also faced extreme risks.
“Staff were held under gunpoint. Armed fighters took up positions and threw staff members out of their homes. Houses were also broken into. At least one female member of staff was the victim of a sexual assault attempt. “Many of the homes and apartments were struck by stray bullets and shells.”
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Three WFP staff were killed during the first week in North Darfur. The WFP then suspended all its operations in the region.
Mr Perthes stated, “We’re trying to get humanitarian aid in.”
“We need a lasting ceasefire to resume humanitarian efforts. Then we can begin again.”