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UN chief addresses Sudan crisis during Nairobi visit

On a visit to Kenya, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for immediate action to end the crisis in nearby Sudan.

Guterres, on a two-day visit to Kenya, expressed his deep concern about the worsening situation in Sudan, whose capital Khartoum has been engulfed by violence for weeks.

“Khartoum is in turmoil, Darfur is burning once again, and the UN refugee agency has already affirmed that more than 100,000 people have fled, and 800,000 people might flee the country in the coming days and weeks,” Guterres said at the UN Environment offices in the capital Nairobi.

“The fighting needs to stop and to stop now before more people die and this conflict explodes into an all-out war that could affect the region for years to come,” he added.

He also highlighted the need for a return to civilian rule, which would help develop the country and alleviate the ongoing humanitarian crisis, warning that hospitals have been destroyed, humanitarian warehouses looted, and millions of Sudanese face food insecurity.

Guterres pledged that the UN is ready to deliver humanitarian aid to Sudan, with Martin Griffiths, his special representative emergency relief coordinator, currently in the country to ensure continued aid distribution.

Guterres echoed Kenyan President William Ruto’s call for the parties to de-escalate tensions and return to the negotiating table and agree on a lasting cease-fire.

The UN chief also called for secure and immediate access to distribute aid to those in need, while urging the international community to support the Sudanese people’s pursuit of peace and a return to democratic transition.

Guterres acknowledged the recent peace agreements in the Central African Republic and Libya and commended Kenya’s leadership role in peace processes in Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

After Kenya, Guterres will attend a meeting in Burundi to discuss peace and security in Congo and the region.

Guterres stressed that African leadership is working step by step to solve African problems.

Ruto on Wednesday also held a joint press briefing with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at State House in Nairobi where they urged the international community to support peace efforts in Sudan.

“Japan will make a proactive contribution and as part of that endeavor we will dispatch the special envoy for the Horn of Africa in order to respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Sudan,” Kishida said.

Japan has backed an initiative by Ruto offering to mediate in Sudan’s conflict to bring peace.

Since April 15, fighting between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has left at least 550 people dead and more than 4,900 injured.

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