Sudan’s military ruler, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has stated that discussions with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Saudi Arabia will be futile unless a truce is reached.
Al-Burhan’s comments come as opposing factions meet in Jeddah to try to cease the bloodshed that has killed hundreds and sparked a mass exodus.The US-backed talks between the army and the opposing paramilitary RSF began on Saturday. So far, little progress has been recorded in the talks, which have centred on the potential of instituting a long-term cease-fire.
“We can discuss a settlement after we reach a permanent ceasefire in Khartoum,” al-Burhan stated in a live phone interview with AlQahera News, warning that a rift in the capital Khartoum will extend to the rest of Sudan.
“The situation in all states is stable except for Khartoum,” al-Burhan was quoted as saying in Egyptian local media sites.
Members of the “brutal and oppressive” RSF are “seeking shelter in civilian homes and in service centres” to avoid being attacked by military forces, he claimed.
According to AFP, a Saudi official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the talks have resulted in “no major progress.”
“A permanent cease-fire is not an option… “Both sides believe they can win the battle,” the diplomat continued.
The fighters have previously stated that they intend to focus solely on a ceasefire and humanitarian matters such as safe passage. Since the fighting began on April 15, numerous ceasefires have been breached.Earlier on Monday, al-Burhan stated that the army was seeking a peaceful solution, but that conversations about a long-term solution should begin only “after we reach a permanent ceasefire in Khartoum,” where some of the fighting is taking place.
However, witnesses stated that the sound of air strikes and clashes resounded over Khartoum on Monday, and neither side has publicly indicated that it is willing to make concessions.
According to Hiba Morgan of Al Jazeera, reporting from Khartoum, there has been fierce combat between the RSF and the Sudanese army.
“Heavy air strikes were launched by Sudanese army fighter jets… near the presidential palace and in the central part of Khartoum,” Morgan said.
“Throughout the day, we could see smoke rising from around that area, as well as from east Nile, where residents say air strikes were also launched by Sudanese army fighter jets.”
There were also reports of artillery bombardment in Khartoum North, she said. Residents who were present claim it is most likely “surface-to-air missiles fired by the RSF against Sudanese army fighter jets.”