Geneva, Jul 11 (AP) The United Nations was hosting closed-door talks in Geneva Thursday involving Sudan's warring sides about how to protect civilians and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The UN office in Geneva said these were “proximity talks” which means the two sides, the Sudanese military and the rebel Rapid Support Forces, are not meeting and negotiating directly.

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“The discussions seek to identify avenues for the advancement of the identified humanitarian and protection of civilian measures through possible local ceasefires, as requested by the Security Council,” UN spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci said in an email.

She declined to say where the talks were taking place but said that the envoy of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened them on Thursday.

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Sudan's devastating 14-month war between the paramilitary Rapid Support Force and the Sudanese military has killed more than 14,000 people and wounded 33,000, according to UN estimates. Rights activists say the toll could be much higher.

Residents of a central city on Sunday said RSF fighters looted homes and shops and took over the main hospital, forcing tens of thousands to flee.

It has also created the world's largest displacement crisis with over 11 million people forced to flee their homes, allegations of rampant sexual violence and possible crimes against humanity, and international experts recently warned that 755,000 people are facing famine in the coming months. (AP)

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