Real or rhetorics? Head of Sudan’s army says he’s ready for talks with rebel commander


KHARTOUM – The head of Sudan’s army has told the BBC he is willing to talk to the commander of rebel forces whom he is battling for control of the country.

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said he was ready in principle to sit down with Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, leader of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

The news platform reported that the two men had been fighting a brutal internal war since April, which the UN said had left more 5,000 people dead.

It said that more than five million people have been displaced.

Burhan who seized power in a coup in 2021 was speaking to the BBC in a rare interview after addressing the UN General Assembly in New York.

He heads the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and was on a global diplomatic tour seeking international support and some kind of legitimacy for his leadership, despite his failure to hand power to civilian authorities.

The general denied his forces were targeting civilians despite the UN and charities saying there was evidence they are launching indiscriminate air strikes on residential areas.

He said he was confident of victory, but admitted he had been forced to relocate his headquarters to Port Sudan because the fighting in the capital Khartoum had made it impossible for government to continue.

Burhan said he would sit down with Dagalo known as Hemedti as long as he abided by commitments to protect civilians, made by both sides during talks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in May.

“We are ready to engage in negotiations,” Burhan said.

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The UN has said that neither warring party appears close to a decisive military victory.

The former UN special representative to Sudan, Volker Perthes, told the Security Council earlier this month that “often indiscriminate aerial bombing is conducted by those who have an air force, which is the SAF”.

The war in Sudan has reignited bitter tribal conflict, especially in Darfur in the west, where the RSF and supportive militias have been accused of mass killings, rape and torture.

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