Sudan’s army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has expressed his support for a negotiated settlement to end the ongoing conflict in the country.
In an interview with Reuters, he emphasised that he did not seek military assistance during his recent regional tour and instead preferred a peaceful resolution to the conflict that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people and the displacement of millions of civilians.
The war between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces began in mid-April, primarily due to disagreements over plans for a political transition and the integration of the RSF into the army. This conflict occurred four years after the popular uprising that led to the ousting of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir.
General Burhan, speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, explained that every war ultimately comes to an end, either through negotiations or the use of force. However, he stressed that the preferred approach in Sudan is through negotiations.
Burhan expressed optimism about the stalled talks facilitated by Saudi Arabia and the United States in Jeddah. Despite the current deadlock, he believes that these negotiations can still yield positive results and contribute to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
In recent weeks, Burhan has embarked on a series of foreign visits aimed at finding solutions to the crisis. He clarified that his intention was not to seek military support but to explore diplomatic avenues for resolving the conflict. Additionally, he has urged neighbouring states to prevent the flow of mercenaries supporting the RSF.
The army chief’s advocacy for a negotiated settlement reflects a commitment to finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Sudan. By emphasising the importance of negotiations and expressing optimism about the ongoing talks, General Burhan sets a tone of diplomacy and cooperation. These efforts are crucial in order to bring an end to the violence and create a foundation for stability and progress in the country.
Burhan expressed that they sought assistance from their neighbours to effectively monitor the borders and prevent the influx of mercenaries. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, the leader of RSF, conveyed in a video speech released alongside Burhan’s address to the UN General Assembly that they are prepared for a ceasefire and political discussions.
Despite previous assertions from both sides expressing their desire for peace and readiness for ceasefires, bloodshed has persisted. Witnesses have reported civilian casualties resulting from army bombardments and have attributed widespread looting, sexual violence, other abuses, and ethnically targeted attacks in Darfur to the RSF.
Burhan adamantly refuted accusations against the army, classifying them as mere propaganda by its adversaries. The RSF has denied any involvement in the violence occurring in Darfur and vows to hold its members accountable for any misconduct.
Regarding El Geneina, where the most severe mass killings took place in Darfur, Burhan noted that limited deployment of the army has hindered their ability to respond effectively. This eruption of violence followed the assassination of West Darfur’s governor on June 14. Despite advising the governor to seek refuge at a military camp, he rejected this option.
“The armed forces currently stationed in El Geneina lack sufficient numbers to cover every region,” Burhan explained.