Photo taken on Sept. 21, 2021 shows a view of Khartoum, capital of Sudan. (Xinhua/Mohamed Khidir)
KHARTOUM, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Sudanese political forces and regional and international parties on Friday welcomed the Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan signed by the Sudanese Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Saudi Arabia on Thursday.
The tripartite mechanism of the United Nations, the African Union and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) described the agreement in a statement on Friday as "an important first step toward alleviating human suffering and protecting the lives and dignity of civilians in Sudan."
The organizations urged the parties to exert all efforts to immediately translate these commitments into meaningful action on the ground.
"The parties must convey clear and unequivocal instructions to lower ranks to abide by the Declaration of Commitments and facilitate the safe passage of humanitarian assistance, the restoration of essential services, the withdrawal of forces from hospitals and clinics, and the respectful burial of the dead," the statement said.
For its part, the Forces of Freedom and Change Alliance (FFC), a civilian political coalition in Sudan, welcomed the signing of the declaration and regarded it as "an important first step towards ending the war," urging the two parties to strictly and seriously adhere to what has been agreed on.
In a statement on Friday, FFC said "we encourage the two parties to move forward to reach a permanent ceasefire and end the differences through dialogue, away from violence and armed force."
The Sudanese Congress Party welcomed the signing of the declaration as "a step on the right path that we should build on to reach a permanent ceasefire."
"We urge the leadership of the Sudanese Armed Forces and the RSF to move forward towards a peaceful and negotiated solution that leads to an integrated political process to restore the path of civilian democratic transition," the party said in a statement on Friday.
This photo taken on April 15, 2023 shows smoke rising in Khartoum, capital of Sudan. (Photo by Mohamed Khidir/Xinhua)
Also on Friday, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that "it is an important step that will contribute to providing protection for civilians of Sudan and will give the opportunity for the access of relief and humanitarian aid as well as protecting the public facilities and easing the evacuation operations."
Egypt is hoping the agreement will open the road for the Sudanese two sides with the help of the regional and international partners to reach a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire, the statement added.
On Thursday evening, the Sudanese warring parties signed in the Saudi port city of Jeddah the Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan, vowing to "achieve a short-term ceasefire to facilitate the delivery of emergency humanitarian assistance and restoration of essential services."
Under the agreement, the two parties would allow civilians to voluntarily and safely leave areas of hostilities and any besieged areas, safeguard the needs and necessities indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, and protect all public and private facilities and refrain from using them for military purposes.
More than 164,000 people have sought refuge across borders since the outbreak of the military conflict in Sudan on April 15, according to the UN Refugee Agency. The deadly clashes have left at least 550 people dead and 4,926 others wounded, according to the figures released by the Sudanese Health Ministry in early May. ■