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Blinken discusses Sudan with Saudi foreign minister

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a telephone call Friday with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan where they discussed the situation in Sudan.

Blinken thanked Saudi Arabia for the assistance in facilitating the safe arrival in Jeddah of Americans and their families who left Sudan, according to a statement by State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

“The Secretary and the Foreign Minister affirmed their countries’ intensive collaboration on diplomatic work to bring about an end to the fighting in Sudan,” said the statement. “The Secretary also emphasized his commitment to advancing an inclusive, Yemeni-led political process that empowers Yemenis to shape a brighter future for their country.”

A growing number of countries continue to evacuate their diplomats and citizens in a third week of fighting between the army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group in Sudan’s capital of Khartoum and surrounding areas.

Fighting between two rival generals — army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF commander Mohammed Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo — broke out April 15, leaving more than 550 people dead, according to the Sudanese Health Ministry.

A disagreement had been fomenting in recent months between the two sides concerning the integration of the RSF into the armed forces — a key condition of Sudan’s transition agreement with political groups.

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.”

The transitional period, which started in August 2019 after the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir, was scheduled to end with elections in early 2024.

The two men also discussed common regional and global priorities, including cooperation under the auspices of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

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