Guterres calls for ‘immediate’ ceasefire in Sudan, as death toll mounts

“I strongly condemn the outbreak of fighting that is taking place in Sudan and appeal to the leaders of the Rapid Support Forces (RAF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) to immediately cease hostilities, restore calm, and begin a dialogue to resolve the crisis,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday.

Following the deaths of three employees of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in the restive Darfur region amid widespread fighting, he called for those responsible to be brought to justice without delay.

‘Horrendous’ loss of life

“The situation has already led to horrendous loss of life, including many civilians,” the UN chief said, ahead of delivering opening remarks at a UN Forum on Financing for Development.

He urged all those with influence over the deteriorating situation to press for peace, and support efforts to end the violence, restore order, and return to the path of transition.

Rising death toll

More than 180 people have been killed and 1,800 injured, some UN facilities have been looted and destroyed, and some non-essential staff will have to be evacuated, said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan, Volker Perthes, speaking to reporters early Monday afternoon at UN Headquarters via video from Khartoum.

“Fighting is going on almost uninterrupted,” he said. “I have made efforts to convince the leaders of both sides to hold fire for a humanitarian pause for a few hours to make it possible for the Sudanese to go to safer places or get supplies for Ramadan or go to the hospital.”

In constant contact with leaders of both sides, he said he is currently trying to cement a daily three-hour humanitarian ceasefire. While the parties had agreed on Sunday and again on Monday for such a pause, fighting had resumed before the end of the ceasefire, he said.

The two sides “are not giving us the impression that they want mediation right away,” he said. “Rather, they are calling on the other side to surrender or disband.”

‘We will do our utmost’

“I do not hear too much noise right now, but it is also prayer time,” the Special Representative said, calling on both sides to stop fighting immediately to allow access for aid workers and strongly requesting both sides to respect the need to protect UN facilities, embassies, aid workers and medical premises.

“We will have to evacuate some of our non-essential staff and relatives,” he said. “But, we will do our utmost to serve the Sudanese people. We will stay and deliver to the extent that we can.”

‘Grave transgressions’

“There have been grave transgressions here,” Mr. Perthes said. WFP, UNICEF, UNDP, and UNHCR guest houses and offices have “come into the crossfire”, all being looted and destroyed by men with arms in Darfur in the last 48 hours, he said.

“No one can get in or get out” of Sudan, he said. “We cannot deliver when our staff is attacked and their offices are destroyed and looted and residences are on fire.”

UN halts many operations

UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said on Monday afternoon that “hostilities will only hamper our humanitarian response efforts at a time when needs are at an all-time high in Sudan.”

“We currently have no access into or out of the country, with the borders and airport remaining closed,” Mr. Dujarric said, stressing that the UN has been forced to temporarily halt much of its operations due to the fighting.

The crossfire at Khartoum airport has damaged a UN plane, potentially seriously impacting the ability to reach remote parts of the Sudan, where needs are highest, he said. Currently, 3.7 million people are displaced in Sudan, he said.

Clashes in capital spread

The crisis began with armed clashes on Saturday, between forces from the SAF, loyal to the head of the military government, and those of his deputy. who leads the paramilitary RAF.

Skirmishes led to widespread fighting between RSF and SAF forces across the capital Khartoum and surrounding areas.

Since then, rising numbers of casualties have been reported across Khartoum, South Kordofan, North Darfur, Northern State and other regions, with the heaviest concentration of fighting taking place in Khartoum, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement released on Sunday.

“Movement in the city is restricted due to the insecurity, creating challenges for doctors, nurses, patients and ambulances to reach health facilities, and putting at risk the lives of those who need urgent medical care,” WHO said, calling for protecting health workers and patients and urging parties to respect the neutrality of healthcare.

Media reports said fighter jets had fired multiple rockets on Sunday into Khartoum, home to more than 6 million people, and that the RSF had claimed that it had taken control of Khartoum international airport, Merowe airport, al-Obeid airport and the presidential palace in the capital.

An independent Sudanese military force, the RSF evolved from the Janjaweed militia, formerly active in Sudan’s Darfur region, and has been involved in talks aimed at a transition to a civilian government from the military rule in place since the 2021 military coup.

Urgent calls to pause fighting

The trilateral mechanism, comprising the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority (IGAD) and the UN, urged parties to adhere to a humanitarian pause that would guarantee safety for civilians, the UN spokesman said on Monday.

Meanwhile, 10 UN agencies and more than 80 non-governmental organizations have been running more than 250 programmes in Sudan, he said, adding that UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths declared that he was “horrified” by the deaths and looting of aid, adding that “it is crucial for the fighting to stop so we can resume our efforts to help those who need it the most.”

Csaba Korösi, President of the General Assembly, echoed that call.

“Any further escalations will have devastating effects on the country and the region,” he said.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said de-escalation of the situation is urgently needed.

“We are deeply concerned about the safety and security of civilians in the areas affected by the fighting, including refugees and internally displaced people,” the agency said, calling for all parties to protect civilians, including refugees and displaced people, and to respect the safety of humanitarian staff so that critical aid can be delivered.

‘Catastrophic’ humanitarian situation

UN chief Guterres said the already precarious humanitarian situation in Sudan is “now catastrophic”.

The UN food agency estimates that one third of Sudan’s population, or some 15 million people, face acute food insecurity. Meanwhile, WFP’s operations in the country are temporarily on hold, as the agency said that threats to its teams make it impossible for them to operate safely and effectively.

“I am appalled and heartbroken by the tragic deaths of three WFP employees on Saturday 15 April in violence in Kabkabiya, North Darfur while carrying out their life-saving duties on the front lines of the global hunger crisis,” said WFP chief Cindy McCain in a statement on Sunday.

“Any loss of life in humanitarian service is unacceptable and I demand immediate steps to guarantee the safety of those who remain,” she urged. “Aid workers are neutral and should never be a target. Threats to our teams make it impossible to operate safely and effectively in the country and carry out WFP’s critical work.”

Engaging with parties

Condemning the deaths and injuries to civilians and humanitarian workers and the targeting and looting of premises, Mr. Guterres reminded all parties of the need to respect international law, including ensuring the safety and security of all UN and associated personnel, and humanitarian aid workers.

“I am engaging with leaders across the region,” he said, reaffirming that the UN stands with the people of Sudan at this very difficult time, with full support for their efforts to restore the democratic transition and build a peaceful, secure future.

Shortages of life-saving medical supplies

WHO warned that supplies it distributed to health facilities prior to the recent escalation of conflict “are now exhausted”.

Many of the nine hospitals in Khartoum receiving injured civilians are reporting shortages of blood, transfusion equipment, intravenous fluids, medical supplies and other life-saving commodities, WHO said.

Reports indicate shortages of specialized medical personnel, and water and electricity cuts are affecting operations at health facilities, while hospital generators are running short of fuel, WHO said.

As the situation evolves, WHO will continue to work with partners and health authorities to fill gaps in the provision of healthcare, especially for trauma care, while also ensuring the safety of staff and their families, the agency said.

‘Chaotic, fast-moving situation’

“It’s still a chaotic, fast-moving situation,” Dr. Richard Brennan, regional emergency director for the WHO Eastern Mediterranean, told UN News.

“What we’re seeing right now is a deeply disturbing development,” he said, adding that current casualty estimates “are likely an underestimate”.

Gross violations unfolding

Up to three medical staff have been killed and armed forces have attacked several health facilities, occupying them to use as bases for further attacks.

“These types of developments are a gross, a very gross, violation of international humanitarian law,” he said.

WHO has already repositioned trauma supplies and other medical goods in hospitals in Khartoum and several of the other states, “but, frankly the level of need has exceeded what we had originally anticipated”, he said.

Message to fighting parties

Sending a message to the fighting parties, he asked them to respect the neutrality of health facilities, refrain from targeting them, and vacate the hospitals they are occupying.

“We absolutely need to ensure that patients, medical staff, logistics mechanisms, and supplying hospitals have access to the health facilities,” he said. “We want a peaceful resolution to the conflict as soon as possible.”

Source: EMM/ United Nations

ADIHEX achieves a qualitative leap in the Equestrian Features

ABU DHABI, 17th April, 2023 (WAM) — Equestrian is an essential and pivotal sector in the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition, in which about 60 prominent companies and brands in the world of horses participated in its last edition (ADIHEX 2022). They showcased their latest products such as boxes, horseshoes, trailers, saddles, halters, horse bridles, nutritional supplements and fodder for horses, riding apparel, shoes, gloves, and much more. DIHEX has everything related to the world of hunting and equestrians and the latest technologies used in this field. This is in addition to the participation of many horse racing clubs, training centres, schools for teaching equestrian skills, stables, and a group of the most skilled Emirati and international riders. The next edition (ADIHEX 2023) will witness a large participation of regional and international companies specialised in the manufacturing of horse-riding equipment and the equestrian world, in addition to distinguished activities and features which attract horse lovers of all age groups. UAE’s equestrian heritage Hundreds of years ago, the people of the UAE were known to care about horses as one of the most important elements of their connection with Arab values. Over the ages, this interest has evolved to be linked to national identity and the authenticity of belonging through knowing the ancient dynasties whose lineages extend back to Arab origins. Equestrian features achieved great success in the last edition, as they attracted thousands of visitors, individuals, and families, through impressive and distinctive shows of Arabian horses that added a special flavour to the features of the exhibition with the participation of official entities and private clubs. The audience praised the splendour of the shows and the good organisation that encourages fans of this authentic Arab sport to watch the amazing performances with their family members and take souvenir photos to mark their presence at the most famous and beautiful exhibition in the region. The Emirates Arabian Horse Society, which is keen on its permanent presence at ADIHEX, and is considered an active partner in this significant sector, organised a series of interesting activities, including horse beauty and freestyle riding shows, and an auction for Arabian horses in the category of speed races, in addition to providing several educational lectures, including the standards and rules for registering and documenting horses and their diet. During its participation, the association revealed the total number of Arabian horses registered in the UAE, which amounted to more than 20,300 horses owned by about 4,000 people. Mounted police, K9 performances s for Abu Dhabi Police, it presented outstanding performances by the mounted police unit and the K9, while their pavilion presented the history of mounted police patrols (cavalry) and their role in maintaining security since the establishment of Abu Dhabi Police. seminar entitled “Horse Riding from Beginners to Show Jumping” presented by Al-Forsan International Sports Resort explained the stages of training in the resort’s equestrian academy and the mechanisms for obtaining international accreditation in equestrian. The Dhabian Equestrian Club participated in the pony riding activity, allowing visitors to enjoy its experience. It also presented in cooperation with Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination, presentations made by specialists on the benefits of equine-assisted therapy for people of determination. The Dhabian Club also provided an opportunity for the public to learn the principles of equestrian and the skills of dressage, parading, and show jumping. The Gymkhana for People of Determination is an annual feature that attracts creative children to compete on horseback, highlights their equestrian skills, and enhances team spirit. The UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation with the Dhabian Club presented a workshop about horses and communication with the successful Emirati riders who won championships in various categories, and who shared their successful experiences. rt of equestrian sport s for the Boudheib Academy, it presented the traditional equestrian show, archery demonstration, and tent pegging, aiming to train Emirati youths on the art of dealing with horses and practicing many of the most beautiful types and arts of equestrian sport as one of the most important elements of connection with authentic Arab values. The Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club annually presents a distinguished educational polo show for the audience of ADIHEX, as it introduces them to the practice of the sport of kings and princes and invites them to enjoy the most beautiful performances on how to practice it with confidence and distinction and to know the rules that have been followed hundreds of years ago by all civilisations. The participation of the Emirati knight, Amna Al Jasmi, was remarkable as she managed to present a role model of the Emirati woman, especially with her pioneering role in spreading this sport inherited from the ancestors among the new generations. She presented in the Arena impressive performances of archery with a bow and arrow on horseback. The art of sword fencing on horseback was also presented by the Kaber Stables team. Horses have played an important role throughout human history all over the world, and equestrian is one of the oldest and most beautiful sports known to man, it is an essential and pivotal sector in the UAE since the establishment of the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition in 2003, which reflects a translation of the efforts to preserve heritage sports and ancient traditions and to introduce the people of the world to the importance of purebred Arabian horses.

Source: Emirates News Agency (WAM)

Expo Centre Sharjah sparks a flourishing exhibition sector in Sharjah, Kicking off 2023 with a Bang

SHARJAH, 17th April, 2023 (WAM) — Expo Centre Sharjah kicked off 2023 with a bang, setting the stage for a thriving exhibition sector in the Emirate of Sharjah. The first quarter of the year saw a flurry of activity at the Centre and its affiliated centres in Khorfakkan and Al Dhaid, with a plethora of major local and international exhibitions and events taking place. This included 15 economic, commercial, and cultural exhibitions, a staggering 25 percent increase from the same period last year when only 12 exhibitions were hosted. Attracting a diverse array of international and regional participants, including major companies and brands, these events drew over 100,000 visitors to the bustling exhibition centre. mong the standout exhibitions were SteelFab, which featured 200 local and international companies and showcased 400 global brands, and the Watch and Jewellery Middle East Show, hosting an impressive 500 exhibitors. nnual events The resounding success of the centre’s new exhibition season has cemented these events as annual fixtures on the Expo Centre Sharjah’s calendar. The UAE Schools and Nursery Show, for instance, garnered significant interest, drawing substantial participation from leading educational institutions, schools, kindergartens, and private education centres across the nation. Expo Centre Sharjah has also played a significant role in fostering collaborative efforts with various government agencies, institutions, and specialised organisations to advance the exhibition industry at the state and regional levels. The centre recently has inked memorandums of understanding (MoU) with the Sharjah Private Education Authority, the Council of Indian Exhibition Organisers, and the International Congress and Convention Association. Moreover, the centre engaged in discussions with Etisalat Services Holding (ESH) to explore avenues for enhanced cooperation. In addition to these partnerships, the centre has made its presence felt at a number of international events dedicated to the exhibition industry. A prime example is the Global CEO Summit 2023, organised by the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) in Lisbon, Portugal, which took place from February 13, 2023. dvancing exhibition industry bdullah Sultan Al Owais, Chairman of SCCI and Expo Centre Sharjah, emphasised that the chamber is committed to empowering Expo Centre Sharjah to play a crucial role in advancing the exhibition industry. l Owais highlighted that the exhibition industry is a key contributor to economic development and GDP growth, and the centre can play a vital role in supporting these goals. He further noted that the first quarter results of Sharjah’s conferences and exhibitions sector in 2023 were solid and promising, reflecting the diversity and richness of the events calendar, which has attracted thousands of exhibitors and visitors. For his part, Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO of Expo Centre Sharjah, said that 2023 commenced with a series of qualitative and innovative exhibitions designed to stay in step with the latest economic, commercial, and cultural developments, as well as global trends within the exhibition industry. He stressed that Expo Centre Sharjah looks forward to supporting all key sectors and fields, attracting investors and businessmen from diverse industries, boosting tourism, and diversifying sources of income. Al Midfa noted that the Centre’s achievements in the first quarter of the year have paved the way for a successful events season, featuring a diverse calendar of exhibitions and events that cater to various sectors.

Source: Emirates News Agency (WAM)

G42 and Mubadala announce launch of M42

ABU DHABI, 17th April, 2023 (WAM) — G42, an Abu Dhabi-based AI technology holding group, and Mubadala Investment Company today announced the launch of M42, a first-of-its-kind, tech-enabled, integrated healthcare company created through the coming together of G42 Healthcare and Mubadala Health. M42 combines G42 Healthcare’s unique medical and data-centric technologies with Mubadala Health’s world-class patient services and state-of-the-art facilities to provide the highest level of personalised, precise, and preventative care. Operating at the forefront of medical development, M42 is set to transform the way care is delivered, bridging the gap between the latest healthtech advancements and the clinical outcomes patients receive. Led by Hasan Jasem Al Nowais, Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of M42, will look at opportunities for global expansion and partnerships with pharmaceutical, healthcare, and healthtech leaders to bring high-quality care to communities around the world. l Nowais said, “As we launch M42, we are excited to impactfully disrupt the global healthcare industry. Our vision is to transform lives through innovation by providing personalised, and precise patient care. We are confident that through our operating companies, M42 will create a future in which dedicated healthcare professionals are empowered by the latest technology to optimise patient outcomes. M42 also represents a platform for us to target international expansion and partner with global peers to solve the world’s most pressing healthcare challenges.” M42 owns a wide portfolio of assets that includes Amana Healthcare, Biogenix Labs, Danat Al Emarat, HealthPoint Hospital, the HealthPlus network of speciality centres, Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, Insights Research Organisation and Solutions (IROS), Omics Centre of Excellence and The National Reference Laboratory, among others. In October 2022, G42 Healthcare and Mubadala Health announced that they had joined forces to create a new, integrated healthcare technology powerhouse.

Source: Emirates News Agency (WAM)

QAIA’s passenger traffic up by 32% last March-AIG

Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) received 738,860 passengers during last March, marking an increase of 31.6%, compared to the same month last year. In a statement on Monday, Airport International Group (AIG) said the airport recorded 6,179 aircraft movements (ACM), during last March, an increase of 21.7%, compared to the same month last year, while QAIA handled 5,603 tonnes of cargo, constituting an increase of 3.2%, over the same period last year. AIG CEO, Nicolas Claude, said expansion of the airport’s networks by adding new airlines and destinations had a “positive” impact on air traffic, which shows value and strength of partnerships with various entities operating in the sector. This effort enhanced airport connectivity regionally and globally and improved its passenger experience through the main air gate of Jordan to the world, he added.

Source: Jordan News Agency

Arada makes R;D partnership with Biopolus, SRTIP and Metito for advanced water treatment technology in UAE

SHARJAH, 17th April, 2023 (WAM) — Arada is investing in a major new research and development (RandD) facility in Sharjah, bringing a new form of sustainable water treatment to the UAE, and the wider Middle East, for the first time. The joint venture agreement with Hungarian water tech firm Biopolus, Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP), and a leading global provider of water management solutions Metito, is designed to develop and implement upgraded versions of the existing Biopolus technology, allowing them to be patented, tested and integrated within projects in Sharjah. The RandD facility is designed to be a living, learning laboratory that can serve as an inspiring and innovative space for students and researchers to study ecological engineering and circular economy principles in a practical and hands-on manner. The long-term goal for the facility will be to create an improved ‘Biopolus 2.0’ version of the technology, while also turning Sharjah into a global hub for the process. s well as the RandD facility, the agreement will also result in the construction and operation of a water treatment plant that will treat, recycle and produce treated water to use for the irrigation of landscapes in both Aljada and SRTIP. The plant will use the Biopolus Metabolic Network Reactor (MNR) technology, a biological engineering process that mimics natural processes by using artificial root structures containing microbial biofilms to clean water rapidly, efficiently, sustainably, and without the use of chemicals. hmed Alkhoshaibi, Group CEO of Arada, said, “With COP28 being held in the UAE later on this year, we believe it’s important that private-sector companies commit to supporting the government by introducing greener and more sustainable technologies and processes wherever possible. This partnership is in line with one of Arada’s key goals: to be a leader in the field of sustainable development. Trees and green landscaping play a central role in all of Arada’s communities, and it’s vital that these areas can be nourished in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.” Hussein Al Mahmoudi, CEO of Sharjah Research, Technology, and Innovation Park, said, “Effective water reuse is of primary importance, especially in a part of the world where water scarcity is such a critical issue. We are delighted that Sharjah will now become a global hub for a technology that has huge potential to conserve this precious resource. We’d like to welcome Biopolus to the UAE and thank our valuable partners at Arada and Metito for their role in this critical partnership. Fady Juez, Managing Director of Metito, said, “Our founding principles are Impact, sustainability, and innovation and with this partnership, we are aligning with our core commitments to the communities we serve. We look forward to bringing our high-value engineering capabilities, our global experience, and local presence and know-how to this mix of synergistic partners. We see huge potential for this technology and its applications, not just for Sharjah but for the entire region. We must collaborate in advancing water solutions to meet the growing demands and the global supply challenges and this project takes us a step closer to creating a positive, lasting impact on our ecosystem”. Istvan Kenyeres, Founder and CTO of Biopolus said, “As a biotechnologist and ecological engineer I have learned how to design thriving and beautiful living systems to recycle our precious water, combining nature’s forces and human intelligence. The new facilities that we are building in Sharjah will not just demonstrate the full potential of this technology in a challenging climate but providing more: create the infrastructure and the partnership ecosystem for a significant impact on a global scale. We are also excited to work with our partners in the UAE to test new and exemplary ways of water-based urban circularity technologies and solutions.” The modular, flexible, and odor-free nature of the Biopolus technology means that each plant can be placed directly in any urban environment and can be designed in an attractive manner that blends in with its surroundings. As a result, the first plant in the Middle East is based on a 9,900 square metre plot on the boundary between SRTIP and the Aljada megaproject in Sharjah. Known as a BioMakery, the state-of-the-art Sharjah plant is characterised by its unique architecture and green and leafy exterior. Construction on the first phase of the Sharjah plant is currently underway and is scheduled to be completed in April 2024, with US engineering giant Jacobs serving as lead consultant on the project. The first phase will have the capacity to recycle 5,500 cubic metres of water a day, with two further phases providing the capacity to recycle 16,500 cubic metres a day. Further plants are also planned to serve Arada’s other projects. Over the long term, Arada and its partners hope to integrate a number of other processes into the Sharjah plant, including recycling, community functions, and energy recovery technologies, helping it to become a local hub for the urban circular economy.

Source: Emirates News Agency (WAM)