Khartoum — Sudanese citizens are cautiously optimistic about the Saudi- and U.S.-brokered peace talks in Jeddah between their country’s warring generals amid reports of a lull in the fighting.
But thousands of Sudanese are still trying to flee the country, and analysts are skeptical that any deal between the two sides will bring long-term peace.
The mediation talks continued for a third day Monday, with no word on whether the negotiations were making progress.
Representatives of the military and the Rapid Support Forces were invited to Jeddah to discuss a proposed cease-fire so humanitarian aid agencies can access people who are wounded, hungry or displaced after more than three weeks of fighting.
The Sudan Tribune reported Sunday that the army negotiators have made three demands: unconditional withdrawal of the Rapid Support Forces from Khartoum, an extension of a humanitarian truce, and the integration of the RSF into the Sudanese army within two years.
The newspaper said, “It’s not clear how the RSF negotiators will respond to these demands.”
A truce between the sides remains officially in place, but eyewitnesses in Khartoum told VOA they heard renewed gunfire and an airstrike in the city Monday in and around the downtown area.
Sudanese citizens are watching the talks in Jeddah with a mix of hope and skepticism.
Sumeya Musa, who fled to Al Jazirah state from the violence in Khartoum, said she was optimistic that the talks would bear fruit and allow her to find a safe route to escape Sudan.
“Our hope from these talks is that the guns will be silenced and we move out of this country,” she said. “Practically, we are suffering. We just want to see that airstrikes, bombing and guns stop for a while.”
Another woman, Amira Saleh, arrived in Port Sudan a week ago and is living in an open area within the town.
Saleh said she doubted that the warring parties were ready to stop hostilities.
“There is no consensus among them, and they will not reach any agreement, or at least a basis to draw a road map that can take these talks to a stage of negotiations,” she said.
Sudanese writer Mekki Al Mograbi said that the majority of Sudanese citizens support the military and that there was no way they would allow the Rapid Support Forces to remain as a separate armed group.
He said he thought the only solution at the moment would be for the RSF to get a safe route and leave the city.
“Granting the Rapid Support Forces safe passage or their exit out of Khartoum could be a possible solution,” he said.
An Arab foreign ministers summit on Sunday in Cairo called for a complete cease-fire in Sudan. The ministers also formed a committee to try to find a way to halt the fighting.
In a statement, the African Union urged parties to the conflict to immediately cease fire for humanitarian reasons and urgently open humanitarian corridors.