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Published: 15:30, September 23, 2023 | Updated: 15:33, September 23, 2023
Sudan's army chief for negotiated settlement to war
By Reuters
Published:15:30, September 23, 2023 Updated:15:33, September 23, 2023 By Reuters

Chairman of Sudan's Transitional Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sept 22, 2022 at UN headquarters. (PHOTO / AP)

NEW YORK/CAIRO – Chairman of Sudan's transitional Sovereign Council and General Commander of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan 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 neighboring 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.

READ MORE: Sudan's army strikes to cut off paramilitary's supply routes

"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.

We asked our neighbors to help us monitor the borders to stop the flow of mercenaries.

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Chairman, Transitional Sovereign Council, Sudan

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 neighbors 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 UN 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 the 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.

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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.

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