Sudan’s de facto leader has warned the UN that the country’s war could spill over into neighboring African nations.
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan also called on the international community to designate his opponents, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), as a terrorist group.
Meanwhile, RSF leader Hamdan Dagalo expressed readiness for a ceasefire. Since April, Sudan has been in a civil war that has claimed thousands of lives.
In 2021, the two generals staged a coup, leading to a recent power struggle between them and armed conflicts among their followers.
Gen Burhan expressed openness to peace talks, while Gen Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, conveyed his willingness to engage in dialogue in a rare video message to the UN.
Sudan’s civil war erupted in April when RSF members were deployed around the country, seen as a threat by the army led by Gen Burhan, and the conflict has since resulted in thousands of casualties and displaced millions.
Following a coup in 2021, Gen. Burhan assumed the role of de facto ruler of Sudan. Since then, he has been traveling the globe in an effort to win over the support of other nations.
In his remarks before the UN, he also made mention of the RSF’s connections to Wagner, an organization of Russian mercenaries that is active throughout Africa in places including the Central African Republic, Sudan, Libya, Mozambique, and Mali.
“The danger of this war is now a threat to regional and international peace and security as those rebels have sought the support of outlaws and terrorist groups from different countries in the region and the world,” he said.
Gen Burhan also argued the RSF should be considered a terrorist group as they had “supported killing, burning, raping, forced displacement, looting, stealing, torture, trafficking of arms and drugs, bringing mercenaries or recruiting children”.
He emphasized the need for accountability and punishment for those crimes. However, Gen Burhan has faced criticism for military actions throughout the conflict.
UN envoy to Sudan, Volker Perthes, who resigned in mid-September, was highly critical of both generals, accusing them of leading the country into a war.
Perthes held the RSF responsible for sexual violence, looting, and killings in areas it controls and condemned the Sudanese armed forces for indiscriminate aerial bombings.
RSF fighters are situated in densely populated urban areas, and the Sudanese military has targeted these areas, seen as legitimate targets. The US has already imposed sanctions on RSF leaders, including Gen Dagalo.
Still, the West has also criticized Gen Burhan for his role in displacing Sudan’s leading party in a 2021 coup.