(Washington) “The violence in Sudan is a tragedy” and “must end,” Joe Biden said in a statement Thursday, waving the threat of sanctions as fighting still raged in Khartoum.

The president says he signed an executive order strengthening the US government’s sanctioning powers against “individuals who threaten the peace, security, and stability of Sudan; that undermine democratic transition; who use violence against civilians; and who commit serious human rights violations”.

The State Department clarified that it is a question of opening up the possibility of sanctions and that Washington thus reserves the right to do so later, refusing to give any timetable or indications on the officials who would be targeted.

“I can assure you that we will use this new authority appropriately to hold accountable those responsible for violent behavior,” State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel said.

Joe Biden also renews in this press release his call for a “sustainable ceasefire” between the army and the paramilitaries.

Director of US Intelligence Avril Haines warned a Senate hearing on Thursday that a “protracted” conflict is to be expected because “both sides believe they can win militarily and have little reason to come to the negotiating table. »

Like other international officials, she warned that the fighting could cause “massive migration flows and assistance needs in the region”.

The conflict in Sudan entered its twentieth day on Thursday, despite the announcement of a new truce until May 11, and the capital Khartoum was rocked by gunfire and explosions.

Since April 15, the war between the army of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and the paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (FSR), of General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, has caused around 700 deaths, according to the NGO ACLED which lists the victims of conflict.

The fighting also left more than 5,000 wounded. At least 335,000 people have been displaced and 115,000 forced into exile, according to the UN.

On the evacuation side, the United States said on Thursday it had “facilitated” the departure from Sudan since the start of the conflict of about “2,000” people, including at least “1,300” American citizens, the State Department said.

Washington had already suspended the activities of its embassy in Khartoum and evacuated its diplomatic personnel during a helicopter operation by American special forces.