United Nations Secretary-General
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The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres:

The Secretary-General is gravely concerned by the outbreak of fighting in El Fasher, which puts over 800,000 civilians at risk.  He is alarmed by reports of the use of heavy weaponry in densely populated areas, resulting in dozens of civilian casualties, significant displacement and the destruction of civilian infrastructure.  He recalls that civilians in the area are already facing a looming famine and the consequences of over a year of war.

The Secretary-General reminds all parties of their obligation under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and calls on them to allow the civilian population to move to safer areas.  He also requests that all parties facilitate safe, rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access to all civilians in need in El Fasher, across Darfur and the Sudan.  Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population and wilfully impeding humanitarian relief for civilians in need may constitute war crimes.

The Secretary-General urges the parties to immediately stop the fighting and resume ceasefire negotiations without further delay.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Secretary-General.

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