Chief of Staff, General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, headed to New York on Wednesday to participate in the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, marking his seventh foreign visit since the outbreak of the conflict in his country in mid-April. He seeks to garner support and promote his narrative about the Sudanese conflict, especially in light of the double standards of the international stance in dealing with Sudan’s events.
The international stance regarding the Sudanese conflict is evident in leaning towards Al-Burhan and giving him the opportunity to speak on behalf of the Sudanese. This is in contrast to his previous obstruction of the duties of the UN Special Envoy in Sudan, Volker Perthes, and his declaration that he was undesirable because he insisted on his stance on the conflict and did not comply with Al-Burhan’s demands, which prolonged the war in the country.
The United Nations ignored Perthes’ recent testimony before the Security Council, which condemned the army, holding them significantly responsible for the war and its consequences. Perthes presented a comprehensive account of the current situation in Sudan and the future risks, including the potential for a civil war in the country.
The Transitional Sovereignty Council issued a statement stating that Al-Burhan is expected to deliver a speech about the situation in Sudan before the General Assembly on Friday. He will also participate in high-level meetings to discuss enhancing multi-party cooperation on various international and regional issues.
Al-Burhan’s previous visit to New York in September 2022 to participate in the 77th session of the UN General Assembly caused widespread dissatisfaction among Sudanese inside and outside the country. The Sudanese community in the United States organized a large-scale protest campaign against this visit.
Some optimistic Sudanese hope that Al-Burhan can be held accountable at the United Nations, with countries taking the opportunity to question him about his crimes and his failure to honor agreements with them, putting pressure on him to go to Jeddah immediately and engage in negotiations.
The Sudanese army commander made visits to Egypt, Chad, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Qatar, and Turkey in less than a month. The purpose of these visits was to update their leaders on the developments in Sudan, where clashes have been ongoing since mid-April. Al-Burhan previously declared that he would continue fighting until the last “rebel” surrenders, indicating that ceasefire initiatives proposed by mediators would not be heeded by the army.
Since the outbreak of clashes in mid-April. the Sudanese army under Al-Burhan’s leadership and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” have exchanged accusations of responsibility for starting the fighting. which has resulted in more than 7,500 casualties and over 5 million internally displaced persons and refugees inside and outside the country. according to the United Nations.
In parallel, the second meeting of foreign ministers of Sudan’s neighboring countries (Egypt, Chad, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Libya, South Sudan) was held at the Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in New York, in coordination between Egypt and Chad. This followed the results of the N’Djamena meeting on August 7. Representatives of the Arab League and the African Union accredited to the international organization also participated in the meeting.
The meeting reaffirmed the adoption of the roadmap formulated during the N’Djamena meeting and agreed to implement its provisions through the collective efforts of Sudan’s neighboring countries, including political, security, and humanitarian dimensions. to deal with the current crisis and ensure stability and respect for Sudan’s sovereignty.
The first meeting announced a three-point action plan to resolve the crisis: “achieving a permanent ceasefire, conducting comprehensive dialogue between Sudanese parties, and managing humanitarian issues.”
The meeting discussed the efforts of Sudan’s neighboring countries to settle the crisis. their contacts with various Sudanese parties. and coordination between neighboring countries and other mechanisms addressing the Sudanese crisis. It also consulted and exchanged views on priorities for action in the coming phase. and agreed on practical measures to achieve a sustainable ceasefire in Sudan. and intensify international efforts to respond to the humanitarian situation. including providing the required support to host countries that host large and growing numbers of Sudanese.
The foreign ministers agreed to continue coordination and communication, and to hold the third ministerial meeting of foreign ministers of Sudan’s neighboring countries in Cairo at an agreed-upon date, determined through diplomatic channels, to evaluate progress made in implementing the roadmap.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry emphasized the importance of making the necessary efforts to follow up on what was agreed upon during the ministerial conference to support the humanitarian response in Sudan and the region, held in June. He also emphasized the need for countries to fulfill their financial commitments announced during the conference, which amounted to $1.5 billion.
Shoukry added, in his meeting with the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths. that only $761 million, equivalent to 29% of these needs, is available despite the UN’s estimation that Sudan needs $2.6 billion.
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a statement that the meeting emphasized the importance of mobilizing international support to meet the food, health. developmental, and psychological needs of Sudanese newcomers in neighboring countries. This takes into account the continued influx of refugees and migrants due to the ongoing escalation in Sudanese territories and the long-term crises faced by many countries in the region.
Before heading to New York, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan visited the city of Merowe in the Northern State, where he inspected the leadership of the 19th Infantry Division and the airbase, as well as the casualties and wounded from the Decisive Battle. This publicity visit aimed to demonstrate the army’s concern for the wounded and civilians and promote it on social media.
The Sudanese army posted a video on its official Facebook page showing Al-Burhan interacting with the citizens in the market of Merowe city. Al-Burhan also visited the wounded from military operations at the military hospital in Merowe, according to the same source.
Merowe holds symbolism for Al-Burhan. as he seeks to show his superiority and promote his victory. At the beginning of the clashes between the two sides. there was intense fighting over the military base at the city’s airport before the army took control of it.
Sources reported that intense clashes and loud explosions erupted in the vicinity of the General Command of the Army, along with confrontations involving various types of weapons near strategic locations in the capital.
A military source stated that the army repelled an attack on the General Command by the Rapid Support Forces from the opposite side of the airport neighborhood, simultaneously with another attack on the Seventh Infantry Division to the north of the command.
The intense aerial and artillery bombardment led to widespread destruction.affecting several key buildings, including the Ministry of Justice and various government and private institutions. some of which were completely engulfed in flames.
After the army announced on Saturday that it had repelled an attack by the Rapid Support Forces on the General Command of the Army and other strategic military sites. clashes resumed on Sunday with the use of heavy and medium weapons, amid intensive warplane flights.
The Rapid Support Forces confirmed that they managed to cut off communication between the Signal Corps and the General Command and took control of military units and civilian buildings near the command. despite the army’s denial of this.
The British newspaper The Guardian quoted witnesses as saying that flames engulfed the Sudanese capital, and semi-military forces attacked the army headquarters for the second day in a row, as the fighting continued for six months.
Eyewitnesses also reported fighting in the city of El-Obeid, located 350 kilometers (about 220 miles) to the south.
In social media posts verified by Agence France-Presse. users shared footage of fires consuming landmarks on the Khartoum skyline, including the Ministry of Justice and the iconic cone-shaped building of the Great Nile Petroleum Company, which has become a symbol of the revolution.
Concerns are growing about the division of the country. with reports of an alternative capital in Port Sudan in the east of the country and the military’s intention to form a government there.
Port Sudan has become the base of the army’s leader after his escape from the General Command headquarters in Khartoum. and he has conducted several external tours from there, considering it the safest region, which has turned it into a center of governance where General Burhan exercises extensive authority.
The Forces for Freedom and Change. leading political efforts to stop the war, stated that they are closely monitoring the escalating indications of the warring parties’ intention to form a government in areas under their control. emphasizing that this is a dangerous development that could lead to the fragmentation and division of the country.