A meeting that carries more war within its folds, where the commander of the Sudanese army and head of the Sovereign Council, Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in an unprearranged meeting at Shannon Irish Airport.
Despite being a brief meeting at the airport, it involved significant discussions about the situations in Sudan and Ukraine. It also witnessed discussions on exporting grains to Sudan and how Sudan supports Ukraine’s initiative.
The leaders of the conflicting parties in Sudan delivered contrasting speeches at the United Nations. One was delivered from the UN headquarters in New York, while the other was via a rare video recording.
Sudanese Army Commander Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the commander of the Rapid Support Forces Hemeti exchanged accusations of responsibility for igniting the war, which has led to the displacement of more than five million people so far.
Dialogue between al-Burhan and Hemeti
During the meeting, al-Burhan stated that he is ready to engage in dialogue with the commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Mohammed Hamdan “Hemeti,” who has been waging a war against him for six months. He indicated a preference for a peaceful solution to end the conflict in Sudan.
Al-Burhan affirmed in interviews with Arab and Western media outlets in New York that he is confident of victory but admitted that he had to move his headquarters to Port Sudan because the fighting in the capital Khartoum made it impossible for the government to continue.
In an interview with BBC, al-Burhan announced his readiness, in principle, to meet with Hemeti and talk to him, as long as he is committed to protecting civilians, as agreed upon in Jeddah. He said, “We are ready to participate in negotiations, and if the leadership of these rebel forces wishes to return to the right path, withdraw its forces from residential areas, and return to its barracks, we will sit down with any of them, especially if they adhere to what was agreed upon in Jeddah. We will sit down to resolve this problem.”
Al-Burhan wants to stop unlawful armed groups
Al-Burhan discussed with Zelensky the activities of unlawful armed groups funded by Russia in Sudan, according to Zelensky’s statement on the X platform. Meanwhile, during interviews in New York, al-Burhan stated that he had requested neighboring countries to stop sending mercenaries to support the Rapid Support Forces. He emphasized that the purpose of these visits was to search for solutions, not military support. He also requested that other countries cease the external support that, according to him, the Rapid Support Forces receive.
Al-Burhan said, “We asked our neighbors to help us monitor the borders to stop the flow of mercenaries. There are many foreign fighters in these forces who have come from all neighboring countries, and they will pose a future threat to the Sudanese state and the region.”
Al-Burhan reiterated his commitment to transferring power to civilians through political dialogue, after ending the war and arranging security conditions, leading to the formation of a full civilian government to oversee the transitional period until elections are held.
Sudanese political analyst Mohammed Elias says Sudan is witnessing a “diplomatic escalation” by al-Burhan aimed at raising the ceiling for future dialogue concerning international support for the Sudanese government.
Elias adds that this is a political accusation, larger than being merely labeled as terrorism. It is an attempt to gain a more advanced position in future negotiations. Therefore, negotiations were offered.
Sudanese political analyst Shoukry Abdel Adhim points out that there is a problem with the international community responding to al-Burhan‘s call and categorizing the Rapid Support Forces as a terrorist organization.
Abdel Adhim adds that if al-Burhan‘s call is answered, and the Rapid Support Forces are classified as a terrorist organization, it will essentially eliminate the possibility of dialogue with the Rapid Support Forces.