UN envoy to Sudan hosts talks on aid and protection of civilians in war-torn country

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GENEVA (AP) — The United Nations held closed-door talks in Geneva on Thursday between warring parties in Sudan on how to protect civilians and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The UN office in Geneva said the talks were “proximity talks”, meaning the two sides, the Sudanese army and the rebel Rapid Support Forces, are not meeting and negotiating directly.

“The discussions aim to identify ways to advance the identified humanitarian and protection measures for civilians through possible local ceasefires, as requested by the Security Council,” UN spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci said in an email.

She would not say where the talks were taking place, but said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ envoy opened the talks on Thursday.

Sudan’s devastating 14-month war between the paramilitary Rapid Support Force and the Sudanese army has killed more than 14,000 people and wounded 33,000, according to UN estimates. Human rights activists say the toll could be much higher.

Residents of an inner city said on Sunday: RSF fighters looted houses and shops and took over the main hospital, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee.

It has also created the world’s largest crisis of displacement More than 11 million people have been forced to flee their homes, there are allegations of widespread sexual violence and possible crimes against humanity. International experts recently warned that 755,000 people could face famine in the coming months.

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