No resolution is in sight for the fighting which has gripped Sudan since mid April, reports suggested on Monday, amid ongoing talks coordinated by the US and Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.
The conflict between the armed forces, under the leadership of army general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces led by his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo have left hundreds killed and thousand more injured.
Each of the warring generals sent a representative to the talks, which kicked off on Saturday.
However, a Saudi diplomat who spoke to AFP news agency on Monday said "no major progress" has thus far been made.
"A permanent ceasefire isn't on the table... Every side believes it is capable of winning the battle," the diplomat added.
Both parties have hinted they were engaging with the talks to tackle humanitarian issues like safe passage, rather than end the fighting. Several cease-fire agreements have been announced since April 15, but all were violated shortly afterward.
The talks are set to continue "in the following days," the Saudi Foreign Ministry said, without providing a specific timetable. They aim to achieve "an effective short-term halt" to the fighting, as well as facilitating aid delivery and restoring basic services.
The Saudi ministry is also pushing for "a timetable for expanded negotiations to reach a permanent cessation of hostilities", it said.
Sudanese citizens stuck in the country amid the fighting or forced to seek refuge abroad are eagerly waiting for the talks to yield any results.
"If the Jeddah negotiations fail to stop the war this would mean that we won't be able to return to our homes and our lives," Tamader Ibrahim, a 35-year-old government employee in Bahri, across the Blue Nile from Khartoum, told the Reuters news agency.
"We're waiting on these negotiations because they're our only hope."
The United Nations top humanitarian official Martin Griffiths arrived in Jeddah on Sunday with plans to meet both parties' representatives. He reportedly had asked to join the negotiations, but his request remains pending.
Here are other key headlines about the crisis in Sudan for Monday, May 8:
Fighting continues on the ground
Meanwhile on the ground, heavy fighting has continued for over three weeks. Residents of the capital Khartoum hid in their homes amid power out outages and combat.
A southern Khartoum resident told AFP the family could hear "the sound of airstrikes which appeared to come from near a market in central Khartoum".
Another resident told Reuters he rented a flat for his family in the south-east of Khartoum, after witnessing heavy fighting and a neighbor getting shot in his central Khartoum Al Amarat district.
"We're still waiting for our passports to get issued, but we don't know how long this will take," Salah told Reuters. "Then our plan is to travel from Port Sudan to Saudi Arabia."
Sudan's Doctors' Union said the fighting in the restive Darfur region has killed at least 100 people. The union's figures suggest at least 481 civilians killed by the fighting nationwide.
Citizens still fleeing abroad for safety
Both Sudanese nationals and foreigners have been flocking out of the country since the fighting erupted. Evacuation efforts have persisted by sea, air and land. Many citizens have crossed into neighboring countries after arduous bus journeys which often last for days.
"It's very dangerous everywhere," Rawaa Hamad, who escaped from Port Sudan on an evacuation flight to Qatar on Monday, told AFP. She said people in Sudan were left to endure "a lack of everything -- a lack of water, lack of fuel, lack of medicine, lack of even hospitals and doctors."
UN figures the fighting has internally displaced some 335,000 people, with around 117,000 refugees who fled abroad. Over 60,000 have crossed north into Egypt so far, 30,000 west to Chad, and more than 27,000 to South Sudan.
Mediation efforts aim to stop the violence
Several regional influencers and international powers have engaged in mediation efforts. Saudi Arabia has been particularly active, liaising with the US one cease-fire after the other.
Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced on Sunday a $100 million (approximately €90.6 million) assistance package, geared toward medical aid and helping those displaced.
The African Union and the East African regional block IGAD are both pushing for talks, under neighboring South Sudan's mediation.
The Arab League met on Sunday, urging for an end to hostilities and the preservation of Sudan's "sovereignty."
However, divided support among some regional heavyweights is believed to complicate the conflict, with Cairo backing Burhan and the UAE believed to be supporting the RSF, as per experts' observations.
rmt/jcg (AFP, AP, Reuters)