The United States has announced that it will levy sanctions against key defence companies and people "perpetuating the violence" in Sudan as warring sides fail to abide by a ceasefire agreement.
“These measures are intended to hold accountable those responsible for undermining the peace, security, and stability of Sudan,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement on Thursday.
"The ongoing fighting in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces is a tragedy that has already stolen far too many lives - it must end," Sullivan added.
The statement came as shelling and aerial bombardments killed 18 civilians at a Khartoum market as fighting showed no signs of abating, with witnesses reporting "heavy artillery" in the capital's north.
The army on Wednesday blasted RSF bases in Khartoum after pulling out of the talks in the Saudi city of Jeddah, accusing its rival of violating a ceasefire that was meant to allow aid deliveries.
"Eighteen civilians were killed and 106 wounded" by army artillery fire and aerial bombardments Wednesday on a market in southern Khartoum, a committee of human rights lawyers said.
Four designated companies
The US Treasury Department said in a statement that four companies are being designated, including Al Junaid Multi Activities Co. Ltd., which is controlled by RSF Commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and his brother RSF Deputy Commander Abdul Rahim Dagalo.
The others are: Tradive General Trading LLC, a front company controlled by RSF Major Algoney Hamdan Dagalo, who also is a brother of the RSF commander; Sudan’s largest defence company, Defense Industries System; and the arms company Sudan Master Technology, which is linked to the SAF.
“Through sanctions, we are cutting off key financial flows to both the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Armed Forces, depriving them of resources needed to pay soldiers, rearm, resupply, and wage war in Sudan,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.
“The United States stands on the side of civilians against those who perpetuate violence towards the people of Sudan.”
US President Joe Biden in May signed an executive order that paved the way for new Sudan-related sanctions to be imposed amid the fighting.
It remains unclear how the sanctions will impact either side's financing or the trajectory of the conflict, now entering its seventh week.
The Biden administration says it's coordinating with the African Union, Saudi Arabia and other stakeholders in the region as they try to press both parties to end the conflict.