ISTANBUL (AA) – Sudan’s army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has given conditional approval for holding negotiations with his rival Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, head of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group.
Burhan said in an interview with the BBC that he would sit down with Dagalo as long as he abided by commitments to protect civilians.
“We are ready to engage in negotiations,” the army chief said.
“If the leadership of these mutinous forces has the desire to return to its senses and pull its troops out of the residential areas and return to its barracks, then we will sit with any of them.
“Whenever he commits to what was agreed in Jeddah, we will sit to resolve this problem,” Burhan said.
Sudan has been mired by clashes between the army and the RSF since April, in a conflict that killed 5,000 and displaced more than 5.2 million people, according to UN figures.
Several cease-fire agreements brokered by Saudi Arabian and US mediators have failed to end the violence so far.
Burhan, who is also the head of Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council, said he was confident of emerging victorious over his warring rival.
The army chief denied that Sudan would become a failed state like Somalia or a divided country like Libya.
“Sudan will remain united. Sudan will remain a state intact, not a failed state. We don’t want what happened in the other countries,” al-Burhan noted.
The Sudanese general also denied reports about indiscriminate airstrikes by his forces on residential areas.
“This is not correct,” Burhan said.
“There are fabrications of some stories by the rebel forces. They bomb civilians and film it as if it was the armed forces. We are professional forces, we work with precision and select our targets in areas where only the enemy is present. We don’t bomb civilians and we don’t target residential areas.”
In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Burhan called for designating the RSF as a terrorist organization.
“The danger of this war is now a threat to regional and international peace and security as those rebels have sought the support of outlaws and terrorist groups from different countries in the region and the world,” al-Burhan said.
“This is like the spark of war, a war that will spill over to other countries in the region,” he said.