Sudan's army chief says he favours negotiated settlement to war

FILE PHOTO: Sudan President of the Transitional Sovereign Council Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan Abdelrahman Al-Burhan addresses the 78th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S., September 21, 2023. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

NEW YORK/CAIRO (Reuters) - Sudan's army chief said on Friday he had not sought military support on a recent regional tour and that his preference was for a peaceful solution to the conflict that has killed thousands and displaced millions of civilians.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan also said in an interview with Reuters that he had asked neighbouring states to stop sending mercenaries in support of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

War between the army and the RSF broke out in mid-April over plans for a political transition and the integration of the RSF into the army, four years after long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in a popular uprising.

"Every war ends in peace, whether through negotiations or force. We are proceeding on those two paths, and our preferred path is the path of negotiations," Burhan said on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Burhan added that he believed that stalled talks by Saudi Arabia and the United States in Jeddah could still succeed.

Burhan has made a series of foreign visits in recent weeks after remaining in Sudan for the first months of the war. The purpose was to seek solutions, not military support, though he had asked other states to block external backing that he asserts the RSF is receiving, he said.

"We asked our neighbours to help us monitor the borders to stop the flow of mercenaries," said Burhan.

RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, said in a video speech released on Thursday to coincide with an address by Burhan to the U.N. General Assembly that he was ready for a ceasefire and political talks.

Previous claims by both sides that they want peace and are ready for ceasefires have failed to stop bloodshed.

Witnesses say the army's bombardments have caused civilian casualties and that the RSF is responsible for widespread looting, sexual violence and other abuses, as well as participating in ethnically targeted attacks in Darfur.

Burhan on Friday dismissed accusations against the army as propaganda by its rivals. The RSF has denied it is behind the violence in Darfur, and will hold its men accountable for abuses.

Burhan said that army deployment in El Geneina, which suffered the worst mass killings in Darfur, has been limited, hindering their ability to respond.

The violence peaked after the governor of West Darfur was killed on June 14. Burhan said he told the governor to seek protection at a military camp, but the governor had rejected that.

"The armed forces present in El Geneina are not sufficient in number to spread out in every area," he said.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis in New York and Khalid Abdelaziz in Cairoa; Writing by Aidan Lewis; editing by Grant McCool)

Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In World

Cate Blanchett calls for focus on education, refugee experience at forum
All eyes on Polish parliament as Tusk set to become PM
Ukraine says Russian ballistic missile strike on Kyiv injures four
Japan PM pledges to 'restore trust' as fundraising scandal rocks government
UK PM Sunak battles to unite divided party in pivotal week
Australia plans to halve migrant intake, tighten student visa rules
Mother of jailed Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' Guzman dies -local media
Learn to forget? How to rein in a rogue chatbot
Former President Donald Trump says he will not testify in New York fraud trial
Analysis-New Zealand's swing right on Maori issues reveals new fault lines

Others Also Read