Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Sunday extended a four-month ceasefire in the conflicting states of western Darfur, southern blue Nile and southern Kordofan, Official media reported.
The extension, which runs until October 31, comes just days before a decision by US President Donald Trump over a lifting of certain sanctions imposed for 20 years in Sudan.
“The order to prolong the ceasefire … is part of a government initiative to bring peace,” Sudan’s official news agency Suna reported.
Initially a four-month cease-fire ordered in June 2016 has already been extended three times in the past.
Former President Barack Obama had decided in January to lift some of the US economic sanctions imposed on Sudan since 1997.
However, he had planned a six-month probationary period before Washington effectively lifted the sanctions.
The end of the fighting in several parts of Sudan, as in Darfur (west), is part of the conditions laid down in Khartoum.
On 12 July, the administration of the new President Donald Trump will decide whether or not to lift these sanctions.
At the end of June, US envoy for Sudan Steven Koutsis hailed in an interview with AFP “the extreme restraint” of Khartoum against the rebel attacks during the past year in Darfur.
He had hoped that Sudan would prolong the “unilateral ceasefire” in Darfur and the other two conflict-torn countries by “at least six months”.
Violence in Darfur – a region the size of France – broke out in 2003 when ethnic-minority rebels rose up against the Sudanese president and his government, most of them Arab, accusing them of marginalizing them.
Similar rebellions took place in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states after the secession of South Sudan in 2011.
The conflict in Darfur has left more than 300,000 dead and 2.5 million displaced since 2003, according to the UN . Thousands of people were also killed in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.
Axadle International Monitoring – Africa