The head of Sudan’s army has revealed that he is willing to talk to the commander of rebel forces whom he is battling for control of the country.
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said he was ready in principle to sit down with Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, leader of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
The two men have been fighting a brutal internal war since April, which the UN says has left more 5,000 people dead.
It says that more than five million people have been displaced.
Gen Burhan – who seized power in a coup in 2021 – was speaking to the BBC in a rare interview after addressing the UN General Assembly in New York.
He heads the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and is on a global diplomatic tour seeking international support and some kind of legitimacy for his leadership, despite his failure to hand power to civilian authorities.
The general denied his forces were targeting civilians – despite the UN and charities saying there is evidence they are launching indiscriminate air strikes on residential areas.
He said he was confident of victory, but admitted he had been forced to relocate his headquarters to Port Sudan because the fighting in the capital Khartoum had made it impossible for government to continue.
Gen Burhan said he would sit down with Gen Dagalo – known as Hemedti – as long as he abided by commitments to protect civilians, made by both sides during talks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in May.
“We are ready to engage in negotiations,” Gen Burhan 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.”