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For periods on Saturday, violence was less intense in the capital area than in recent days, residents said.

Residents also reported relative calm in the city of El Geneina in the western Darfur region after days of fighting there. The Darfur Bar Association said the death toll had reached 200, with thousands wounded.

The prospects for negotiations between the army and paramilitary have so far seemed bleak.

On Friday, army leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said he would never sit down with the RSF’s “rebel” leader, referring to General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti. The RSF chief in turn said he would talk only after the army ceased hostilities.

Nonetheless, the UN special representative in Sudan, Volker Perthes, told Reuters he had recently sensed a change in the sides’ attitudes and they were more open to negotiations, and were saying they would accept “some form of talks”.

“The word ‘negotiations’ or ‘talks’ was not there in their discourse in the first week or so,” Perthes said.


Perthes said the sides had nominated representatives for talks which had been suggested for Jeddah, or Juba in South Sudan, though he said there was a practical question over whether they could get there to “actually sit together”.

The immediate task, Perthes said, was to develop a monitoring mechanism for ceasefires.

“They have both accepted that this war cannot continue.”

At least 528 people have been killed and 4,599 wounded, the health ministry said. The United Nations has reported a similar number of dead, but believes the real toll is much higher.

More than 75,000 people had been internally displaced by the fighting, the United Nations reported.

Foreign governments have organised a major evacuation of expatriates, some by land and sea, and some by air.

Egypt said on Saturday it would stop running evacuations out of the Wadi Seidna base north of Khartoum, a day after Turkey said an evacuation plane was shot at.

Former Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, speaking at a conference in Nairobi, said the war must stop, warning of its ramifications not just in Sudan but for the region.

“This is a huge country, very diverse … I think it will be a nightmare for the world,” he said. “This is not a war between an army and small rebellion. It is almost like two armies – well trained and well armed.”