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PORT SUDAN: Sudan’s foreign ministry declared 15 UAE diplomats persona non grata Sunday, demanding they leave Sudan “within 48 hours,” according to the official news agency SUNA.

In recent weeks, pro-army demonstrators and high-ranking officials loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan have accused the United Arab Emirates of supporting the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, led by Burhan’s former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

The two forces have been at war since April 15, killing 12,000 people and displacing seven million, according to the United Nations.

Ceasefire talks between the two forces have consistently failed, while neither has managed to seize a decisive advantage on the battlefield.

Experts and world leaders including United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have said unnamed actors supplying “financial and weapons” support to both warring sides have contributed to the ongoing carnage.

While Egypt and Turkey have stood firmly in the army’s corner, according to experts, the UAE has been accused of funnelling arms and support to the RSF, which controls much of the country’s lucrative gold mining sector.

The UAE in August denied a Wall Street Journal report claiming weapons were found in its aid shipments to Sudan, and said Abu Dhabi “does not take sides in the current conflict”.

In late November, General Yasser al-Atta, second-in-command to army chief Burhan, accused the UAE of “supporting the RSF in its war against the army,” through airports in Uganda, Chad, and the Central African Republic.

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