DUBAI (Reuters) – There would be no truce in Sudan in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan unless the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group leaves the homes and sites of civilians, senior Sudanese armed forces General Yasser al-Atta said on Sunday.

The statement follows an appeal by the United Nations Security Council for a truce during Ramadan, which begins this week. The paramilitary RSF said it welcomed the ceasefire call.

Atta’s statement, issued on the army’s official Telegram channel, cited recent military advances by the army in Omdurman, part of Sudan’s wider capital.

It said there could be no Ramadan ceasefire unless the RSF complied with a commitment made in May last year at Saudi and U.S.-mediated talks in Jeddah to withdraw from civilian homes and public facilities.

It also said there should be no role for Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the RSF leader commonly known as Hemedti, in Sudan’s future politics or military.

War between Sudan’s army and the RSF erupted in mid-April 2023 amid tensions over a plan for transition to civilian rule. The two factions staged a coup in 2021 that derailed a previous transition following the 2019 overthrow of autocratic former leader Omar al-Bashir.

The army has been on the back foot militarily for much of the conflict. The RSF occupied large swathes of the capital in the first days of fighting.

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.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also urged a Ramadan truce.

Sudan’s U.N. ambassador told the U.N. security council on Thursday that the head of the army and ruling council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan commended Guterres’ appeal, but was wondering how it could be implemented.

Sudan’s foreign ministry, which is aligned with the armed forces, said that for any ceasefire appeal to be successful, the RSF would need to withdraw from areas including El Gezira and Sennar states and several cities in Darfur, the RSF’s stronghold.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz, Clauda Tanios and Aidan Lewis, Editing by Louise Heavens and Sharon Singleton)

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