As UN urges Sudan truce, Russia and China cite Gaza

By Thomson Reuters Mar 8, 2024 | 4:15 PM

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations Security Council on Friday called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Sudan, prompting China to remind it not to forget about the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza and Russia to accuse the United States of double standards.

Russia abstained, while the remaining 14 council members voted in favor of the British-drafted resolution that called for an immediate cessation of hostilities during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins early next week.

War erupted in Sudan on April 15, 2023, between the Sudanese army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The U.N. says nearly 25 million people – half Sudan’s population – need aid, some 8 million have fled their homes and hunger is rising. Washington says the warring parties have committed war crimes.

Between 10,000 and 15,000 people were killed in one city alone in Sudan’s West Darfur region last year in ethnic violence by the RSF and allied Arab militia, according to a U.N. sanctions monitors report seen by Reuters in January.

Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Anna Evstigneeva, accused the U.S. of “double standards” by “dragging out the adoption of a document on a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,” where health authorities say more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed in the past five months.

“The USA time and again uses it to veto, plays for time and demands that we wait for some results from its direct diplomacy on the ground. Nothing of the sort is proposed for Sudan,” she told the council before the vote.

The United States has vetoed three draft council resolutions since the war began on Oct. 7 when Hamas attacked Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. Washington’s ally Israel retaliated with an air and land assault on the Palestinian militants in Gaza.

“While adopting a resolution on a ceasefire during the month of Ramadan in the Sudan, the Security Council must not forget that the people of Gaza are still suffering under bombardment,” China’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Dai Bing, told the council. “The international community must push for immediate ceasefire.”

The United States did not respond in the council to Russia and China’s remarks on Gaza. The U.S. is currently negotiatinga draft resolution that backs “an immediate ceasefire of roughly six-weeks in Gaza together with the release of all hostages,” but it has said it is not in a rush to put the text to a vote.

U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths said earlier on Friday that if there were a truce in Sudan the U.N. would pile in aid, adding: “Ten million Sudanese have become food insecure because of this conflict that should never have started.”

During a Security Council meeting on Thursday. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged a Ramadan truce.

Sudan’s U.N. ambassador, Al-Harith Idriss Al-Harith Mohamed, told the council on Thursday that the president of the country’s transitional council commended Guterres’ appeal, but “he’s wondering about how to do this.”

“All those who would like to see that appeal transformed into action are welcome … to present a mechanism for implementation of it,” the Sudanese ambassador said.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols at United Nations; Editing by David Ljunggren and Matthew Lewis)