US pushes for UN Security Council action to end war in Sudan

United Nations General Assembly holds meeting on Ukraine ahead of 2nd anniversary of Russian invasion, at U.N. headquarters in New York

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday pushed for the United Nations Security Council to take action to help end a nearly year-long conflict in Sudan between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

The United States says the warring parties have committed war crimes and the RSF and allied militias have also committed crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. The U.N. says that nearly 25 million people - half Sudan's population - need aid and some 8 million have fled their homes and hunger is rising.

"It is clear that this is an urgent matter of peace and security that demands greater attention from the Security Council," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield told Reuters in a statement.

"The council must act urgently to alleviate human suffering, hold perpetrators to account, and bring the conflict in Sudan to an end. Time is running out," she said, without specifying what action the 15-member council should take.

Since war erupted on April 15, 2023, the council has only issued three press statements condemning and expressing concern about the war. It echoed that language in a resolution in December that shut down a U.N. political mission - following a request from Sudan's acting foreign minister.

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 last month.

"I am deeply disappointed that the allegations detailed in this report have received such little attention, both inside the U.N. Security Council and outside the United Nations," said Thomas-Greenfield, who visited a refugee camp in Chad near the border with Sudan's Darfur in September.

The Sudanese government recently prohibited aid deliveries through Chad, effectively shutting down a crucial route for supplies to the vast Darfur region, which is controlled by the rival RSF. Thomas-Greenfield described the move as "unacceptable" for threatening a "critical lifeline."

Reuters last year chronicled the ethnically targeted violence committed in West Darfur. In hundreds of interviews with Reuters, survivors described horrific scenes of bloodletting in El Geneina and on the 30-km (18-mile) route from the city to the border with Chad as people fled.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)