Saudi Arabia to start talks between Sudan's warring sides

Saudi Arabia says it has invited delegates from Sudan's warring parties to prepare the ground for talks to ease tensions in the African country.

The Saudi Arabian government announced on Friday that Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud discussed the Sudan issue with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken over the phone.

It said it has invited representatives of the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, or RSF, to the western Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah. It added that the plan is backed by the US government.

The Sudanese military said it had sent its delegation to Jeddah. The Associated Press reported that talks will begin there as early as Saturday, based on information from both sides.

Fighting continues in Sudan despite the announcement of ceasefire agreements. The country's health authorities say 550 people have been killed since violence erupted on April 15.

Saudi Arabia is believed to have influence on Sudan. Observers say the dialogue could ease tensions amid rising concerns about the humanitarian crisis there.