Sudan’s Army Chief Expresses Willingness for Peace Talks with Rebel Forces

In a rare interview with the BBC, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s army, stated that he is prepared to engage in peace talks with Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the leader of the rebel Rapid Support Forces (RSF). This announcement comes amidst a brutal internal war that has claimed the lives of over 5,000 people, with more than five million individuals displaced. Gen Burhan, who took power through a coup in 2021, seeks international support and recognition for his leadership while denying his forces’ targeting of civilians, despite evidence that indiscriminate airstrikes have hit residential areas. The general’s relocation of his headquarters to Port Sudan due to the intensifying fighting has raised concerns about the government’s ability to function effectively in the capital, Khartoum. While both Gen Burhan and Gen Dagalo have previously spoken about ceasefires, none have resulted in a reduction in hostilities. However, Gen Burhan remains confident in his forces’ ability to defeat the RSF and asserts that Sudan will not become a failed or divided state. The United Nations (UN) has warned that neither party is close to achieving a decisive military victory. It is critical that the peace talks between Gen Burhan and Gen Dagalo lead to a substantial de-escalation of violence and a genuine commitment to protect civilians, as agreed upon during the talks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in May. Such negotiations are crucial for ending the ongoing conflict and ensuring the stability and unity of Sudan.