PORT SUDAN – Sudan’s Head of the Sovereignty Council Gen Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan on Monday travelled to Eritrea for an official visit, as he intensifies his shuttle diplomacy.
During the visit, the fourth since the war started, Sudan News Agency said Al-Burhan will hold talks with Eritrea President Isaias Afwerki, who has backed him in the ongoing war against Rapid Support Forces led by Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo alias Hemedti.
“During the visit, the President of the Council will hold talks with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki on the course of bilateral relations between the two countries, ways of enhancing them, and issues of common interest between the two countries,” the statement said.
Al-Burhan was seen off at Port Sudan International Airport by Lt Gen Muhammad al-Ghali Ali Youssef, Secretary-General of the Sovereignty Council, and a number of ministers.
“The President of the Council is accompanied during the visit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ali Al-Sadiq, and the Director of the General Intelligence Service, Lieutenant General Ahmed Ibrahim Mufadda,” the statement added.
Burhan has in recent weeks made several international visits, travelling to Egypt on August 29, where he held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al SIsi in the coastal town of El Alamein. They discussed efforts to end the conflict in Sudan in a way that preserves “the sovereignty, integrity of Sudanese state”.
“The Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council welcomed this [Egypt’s] track, the first summit of which was held recently in Egypt,” a statement released by the Egyptian Presidency said.
This was Burhan’s first international travel since the conflict broke out with RSF on April 15.
Following the collapse of the Jeddah talks, which were being facilitated by Saudi Arabia and the United States, Egypt offered to lead the mediation between Sudanese belligerents and, in July, hosted a group of Sudan’s neighbours and six other countries to find solutions to the fighting.
Soon thereafter, Burhan flew to South Sudan on September 4 and held talks with President Salva Kiir in Juba. Kiir is the IGAD deputy chairperson.
Burhan’s third visit was in Qatar on September 7, where he held talks with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha.
In a statement, the ruling Sovereignty Council in Sudan said Al-Burhan intended to hold talks with Thani on “issues of common interest, and the situation in Sudan”.
Al-Burhan discussed “the latest developments in the situation and challenges facing Sudan” with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, a statement from the Emiri Diwan said.
“The armed forces reassure the Sudanese people and the entire world that we are continuing to complete the transition to democratic civilian rule after the defeat of the rebellion … The priority is how to end the rebellion and defeat it,” Al-Burhan told reporters.
On September 6, Al-Burhan issued a decree dissolving the RSF, while the United States sanctioned senior RSF Commander Abdelrahim Hamdan Dagalo, Hemedti’s brother, and RSF General and West Darfur Sector Commander Abdul Rahman Juma for his involvement in gross violation of human rights.
President Afwerki is on record opposing the IGAD-AU-led mediation framework in Sudan, saying saying the conflict is a domestic issue that should be left to the Sudanese people to solve.
“The President of Eritrea informed me that his country stands behind the Sudanese people and that the current initiatives are political bazaars in which Eritrea cannot engage in, knowing that what is happening in Sudan is an internal matter concerning the Sudanese, and that external interference will complicate matters exponentially,” Vice President of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council Malik Agar Eyre said n a statement after meeting Afwerki in early July.
Instead, Afwerki declared that Eritrea was ready to support Sudan whenever it’s requested, and that they are backing the unity and sovereignty of Sudan and its land, as well as the Sudanese people.