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Top Saudi diplomat discusses Sudan violence with army envoy

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan held talks in the capital Riyadh on Sunday with a special envoy of Sudan’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

At least 528 people have been killed and thousands injured in clashes between the Sudanese army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) since April 15, according to the Health Ministry.

In a statement, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said the talks between bin Farhan and Sudanese envoy Dafallah El Haj Ali dwelt on the current situation in Sudan.

Bin Farhan renewed the Saudi call “for calm, giving priority to national interest, and halting all forms of military escalation in order to preserve Sudan’s capabilities and gains,” the statement said.

There was no comment from the Sudanese army on the meeting.

A disagreement had been fomenting in recent months between the army and the paramilitaries over military security reform. The reform envisages RSF’s full integration into the military, one of the main issues in negotiations by international and regional parties for a transition to civilian, democratic rule in Sudan.

Sudan has been without a functioning government since October 2021, when the military dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s transitional government and declared a state of emergency in a move decried by political forces as a “coup.”

Sudan’s transitional period, which started in August 2019, was scheduled to end with elections in early 2024.

*Writing by Ikram Kouachi

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