SAF-RSF ‘agree to UN-mediated Sudan aid talks’

Still from a video recording showing UN Relief Chief Martin Griffiths (centre) with Fillippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (left), at a press conference in Geneva on February 7 (Source: UN Website)

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said that the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), agreed to meet in Switzerland to discuss humanitarian access in Sudan, but added he is “still waiting for the actual meeting to happen”.

In a press conference in Geneva yesterday, the UN relief chief told reporters that the two warring parties in Sudan were invited to Switzerland to discuss coordination with humanitarian agencies on aid provision.

“I spoke to the two generals […] This time it’s the UN who will be the mediator, to discuss precise access planning, to discuss movements and so forth.

“They both said, yes, that they would be happy to come […] into Switzerland. […] And I’m still waiting for confirmation of when and where they will come.”

Griffiths told a reporter that the meeting was proposed “to get them to follow up their commitments in the so-called Jeddah Declaration […] to declare their commitment to international humanitarian law and helping us on access”.

The press conference was held at the heels of the joint launch of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Sudan Humanitarian Needs and Response Plan, and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan to aid 1.7 million Sudanese refugees sheltering in neighbouring countries.

Griffiths reiterated the OCHA-UNHCR appeal to raise $4.1 billion to provide humanitarian aid for almost 15 million Sudanese people in 2024 and urged countries not to forget the civilians suffering under the brunt of war in Sudan.

“There is a certain kind of cruelty about the world of humanitarian work, which is the competition in suffering and the competition between regions: I suffer more than you so I need to get more attention and more money,” he exclaimed. On January 25, OCHA reported that half of Sudan’s population, about 25 million people, need humanitarian assistance and protection. Almost 11 million people in Sudan have been displaced by the ongoing war, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).