El Burhan visits Eritrea to discuss Sudan crisis

The commander of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and head of the Sovereignty Council, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, arrives in Egypt in the junta leader’s first foreign trip since the outbreak of the war in mid-April (Photo: SUNA)

The head of the Sovereignty Council and commander-in-chief of the Sudanese army Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan visited the Eritrean capital of Asmara yesterday, his fourth visit since leaving the General Command in Khartoum. 

He was accompanied by acting Foreign Affairs Minister Ali El Sadiq, acting Finance Minister Jibril Ibrahim, Darfur Governor Minni Minawi, and head of the General Intelligence Service (GIS) Gen Ahmed Mufaddal, the Sovereignty Council’s media office said in a statement yesterday. 

The delegation discussed bilateral ties with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki during a visit that lasted a few hours. 

On their return to Port Sudan, the FA Minister said in a press conference that the talks touched on “initiatives to address the Sudanese crisis” and how to find a unified vision which will achieve peace and stability. 

Eritrea affirmed its support for Sudan and its territorial integrity, he said. El Sadig praised the position of President Afwerki, which he expressed at the summit of Sudan’s neighbouring countries in N’Djamena in Chad and at the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit* in Djibouti, which aimed to promote peace and stability in Sudan.  

El Burhan briefed the Eritrean president on the situation in Sudan, describing the situation as a “rebellion” by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) “against the state.” He also described the alleged crimes and violations they have committed against Sudanese people.  

Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Meskel told reporters in Asmara that the talks focused on peace efforts in Sudan. The Eritrean president reiterated his country’s pre-war position on the transition to safety in Sudan. 

Eastern Sudanese political analyst Abu Fatima Onur stressed the importance of El Burhan’s visit to the Eritrean capital. “El Burhan’s visit to Asmara was no less important than previous visits to other countries,” he told Radio Dabanga. 

Onur explained that the most important topics are the ongoing war and relations between the two countries, in addition to the opening of borders. 

Onur said one of the issues that could be discussed between the two presidents was the west coast linking the two countries considering attempts by many countries to dominate it.  

He ruled out any link between the meetings of political forces, including the Forces for Freedom and Change-Democratic Bloc, the National Movement Forces, and other political groups in the Eritrean capital, with El Burhan’s visit, and considered this pure coincidence. 

Eastern Sudanese civil society groups led by Mousa Mohamed Ahmed and Mohamed Bitay recently visited Eritrea concerning conflicts in the region, as a precaution against the spread of the RSF-army war to eastern Sudan. 

El Burhan held a meeting with Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, to discuss the situation in Sudan on August 29. After the meeting, Burhan stressed the commitment of the SAF to seek to end the war and establish a real transitional period. He stressed that “the SAF has no inclination to continue to rule”. 

El Burhan also met with South Sudan’s President, Lt Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit, in the South Sudan capital Juba on September 4, “to bolster bilateral ties and navigate a challenges brought on by the ongoing war” between the SAF and the RSF. 

The delegation also visited Qatar on September 7. Qatar has been among Sudan’s chief backers and investors, pouring billions of dollars into the vast Afro-Arab states over the years. Qatar has also assumed a mediating role to end the civil war in Sudan’s western Darfur region in the 2000s. 

*Eritrea rejoined the East African IGAD bloc in June this year. In 2007, the Asmara withdrew its membership because of disagreements with the other IGAD members.