There has been no word on the progress of the talks which began on Saturday between the army and the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah, Reuters reported.
The combatants have said they would only try to tackle humanitarian issues like safe passage, not an end to the war. Numerous ceasefires have been violated since conflict erupted on April 15.
The sound of air strikes and clashes echoed anew across the capital Khartoum on Monday, witnesses said.
“If the Jeddah negotiations fail to stop the war this would mean that we won’t be able to return to our homes and our lives,” said Tamader Ibrahim, a 35-year-old government employee in Bahri, across the Blue Nile river from Khartoum. “We’re waiting on these negotiations because they’re our only hope.”
Thousands pushing to leave
The U.S.-Saudi initiative is the first serious attempt to end fighting that has turned parts of Khartoum into war zones, stymied an internationally backed plan to usher in civilian rule after years of unrest, and touched off a humanitarian crisis.
A Saudi Foreign Ministry statement said “pre-negotiation” talks began on Saturday and “will continue in the coming days in the expectation of reaching an effective short-term ceasefire to facilitate humanitarian assistance.”
However, the scope of talks is limited. “We are not for negotiation right now with (RSF chief) General Hemedti,” Dafallah Alhaj, an envoy to the armed forces chief, General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, said in South Sudan on Monday.
“What we are doing now is just looking for a ceasefire so that we are able to provide a conducive situation for a humanitarian corridor, but for direct peace talks we are not ready,” he added.
Sudan’s Forces of Freedom and Change, a political grouping leading the plan to transition to a civilian democracy after decades of military-dominated authoritarianism, welcomed the Jeddah talks on Saturday.
Battles since mid-April have killed hundreds of people and wounded thousands of others, disrupted aid supplies and sent 100,000 people fleeing abroad.
United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths is in Jeddah for the talks to engage on humanitarian issues in Sudan, his spokesperson said.
Since the fighting erupted, the U.N. refugee agency has registered more than 30,000 people crossing into South Sudan, more than 90% of them South Sudanese. The true number is likely much higher, it says. Aid agencies fear the influx will worsen an already dire humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, which won independence from Khartoum in 2011 after decades of civil war.