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Sudan's general in Egypt to try to end to the bloody civil war

By Melissa Chemam with RFI
Egypt  Arme soudanaise / AFP
WED, 30 AUG 2023 LISTEN
© Armée soudanaise / AFP

On his first trip abroad since the outbreak of war in April, Sudan's army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, visited Egypt on Tuesday in an attempt to reopen peace talks.

Burhan met one of his key allies, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in El Alamein on Egypt's north coast.

Burhan flew from Port Sudan and told al-Sisi that his forces faced "rebel groups who have committed war crimes in their attempt to seize power."

Sisi's office said the Egyptian president had "reaffirmed Egypt's firm position in standing by Sudan and supporting its "security, stability and territorial integrity".

Speaking to Egyptian media on Tuesday, Burhan said Sudan's military is "committed to ending the war" and "does not seek to continue ruling the country".

He said: "We seek free, fair elections where the Sudanese people can decide what they want."

The war between Burhan and his former deputy-turned-rival Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, has raged since 15 April, killing thousands and displacing millions.

Bloody civil war

For months, the RSF had besieged Burhan inside his military headquarters in Khartoum, but last week the general made his first foray outside the compound.

He arrived on Monday in Port Sudan, where he made a fiery address to his troops, vowing to "put an end to the rebellion".

His comments came a day after Daglo released a 10-point "vision" that is designed to end the war and build "a new state".

The plan calls for "civilian rule based on democratic norms" and "a single, professional, national military institution".

Spared from violence, Port Sudan is where government officials and the UN have relocated their operational centre. It is also the site of Sudan's only functioning airport.

Burhan's trip follows multiple diplomatic efforts to end the violence in Sudan, with a series of US- and Saudi-brokered ceasefires systematically violated over the past four months.

In July, Egypt already hosted a crisis meeting attended by African leaders to seek a solution.

The country shares borders with Sudan and has received over 250,000 refugees from its neighbour.

New set of talks

 After Egypt, speculation has mounted that Burhan will next travel to Saudi Arabia.

The country has positioned itself as a key mediator also "in opposition to the UAE's plan" to back the RSF, said Magdi al-Gizouli, a researcher with the Rift Valley Institute.

The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data project show that at least 5,000 people have been killed in the more than four-month Sudan conflict.

The United Nations says more than 4.6 million people have been displaced by the fighting both inside and outside Sudan.

Before they turned on each other, Burhan had been backed by Daglo when he became Sudan's de facto ruler in a 2021 coup that derailed a fragile transition to civilian rule.

The coup upended a transition painstakingly negotiated between military and civilian leaders following the 2019 ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

 (with newswires)

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