UN Security Council Demands Halt To Siege Of Sudan’s al-Fashir City By Rebels

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The United Nations Security Council on Thursday demanded a halt to the siege of al-Fashir city in Sudan’s North Darfur region by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

The Security Council also demanded an immediate ceasefire and an end to fighting in the area.

The 15-member council adopted a British-drafted resolution that also calls for the withdrawal of all fighters who threaten the safety and security of over 1.8 million civilians in al-Fashir, the last big city in the vast, western Darfur region not under RSF control.

“An attack on the city would be catastrophic,” Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Barbara Woodward told the council.

“This council has sent a strong signal to the parties to the conflict today. This brutal and unjust conflict needs to end.”

War erupted in Sudan in April last year between the Sudanese army and the RSF, triggering the world’s largest displacement crisis.

Top U.N. officials have warned of the worsening violence around al-Fashir which they said threatens to unleash bloody intercommunal strife throughout Darfur.

The British-drafted resolution received 14 votes in favour, while Russia abstained.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said it was a “precarious moment.”

“The people of al-Fashir are trapped. They’re surrounded by heavily armed RSF. Food, water, medicine and other essentials are drying up,” she said.

“Famine is setting in and the threat of further violence, including a large-scale massacre, looms large.”

Earlier this week, al-Fashir’s main hospital was attacked by the RSF and put out of service, Doctors Without Borders said on Sunday.

Also, the UN said some 130,000 residents have fled the city due to fighting in April and May, adding that leaving the city is dangerous as those fleeing have been attacked on the main RSF-controlled road out.

The Security Council called on the warring parties to allow civilians to move to safer areas within and outside al-Fashir. While urging countries “to refrain from external interference which seeks to foment conflict and instability … and reminds all parties to the conflict and member states who facilitate the transfers of arms and military material to Darfur of their obligations to comply with the arms embargo measures.”

U.N. sanctions monitors have described as “credible” accusations that the United Arab Emirates has provided military support to the RSF. The UAE has denied it.