published : 2023-09-05
South Sudan's President Meets with Sudan's Top Military Official in Juba
South Sudan Gained Independence from Sudan over a Decade Ago
Sudan's top military general, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, has embarked on a significant diplomatic mission to South Sudan. This visit marks his second trip abroad since the start of the war in Sudan earlier this year. Gen. Burhan, who serves as the chairman of the ruling Sovereign Council, arrived in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, on Monday morning. President Salva Kiir warmly greeted him upon his arrival.
After inspecting an honor guard, President Kiir and Gen. Burhan proceeded to engage in talks focused on regional efforts to find a resolution to the ongoing conflict in Sudan. The discussions aim to ease tensions between the military, led by Gen. Burhan, and the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces commanded by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.
The conflict in Sudan has transformed the capital, Khartoum, into an urban battlefield, with neither side able to seize control of the city. The military headquarters, where Gen. Burhan has reportedly been stationed since the conflict began, has become a central point of contention.
In addition to the turmoil in the capital, the western Darfur region has witnessed the eruption of ethnic violence. Reports from rights groups and the United Nations highlight attacks by the Rapid Support Forces and allied Arab militias against ethnic African groups.
Accompanied by acting Foreign Minister Ali al-Sadiq and Gen. Ahmed Ibrahim Mufadel, head of the General Intelligence Authority, Gen. Burhan's delegation arrived in Juba. South Sudan's Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Martin Elia Lomuro, expressed confidence in President Kiir's ability to bring about a resolution to the crisis in Sudan.
According to Lomuro, President Kiir possesses comprehensive knowledge and understanding of Sudan, making him the ideal candidate to mediate the ongoing conflict. The shared history and intimate understanding between the two nations further strengthen South Sudan's position as a mediator.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after a prolonged and bitter conflict. Early in the current war in Sudan, President Kiir attempted to facilitate negotiations between the warring generals under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a regional bloc comprising eight member countries, including Sudan.
Gen. Burhan's visit to Juba follows his meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in the coastal city of el-Alamein last week. This marked his first trip abroad since the war broke out. The ongoing conflict has already claimed thousands of lives, with millions more displaced from their homes.
To address the pressing humanitarian needs caused by the conflict, the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies have appealed for $1 billion in funding. This crucial assistance aims to support over 1.8 million people who are expected to seek refuge in neighboring countries by the end of 2023, including Egypt, Chad, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, and South Sudan.
The gravity of the crisis cannot be undermined, as displacement and needs continue to escalate. Mamadou Dian Balde, a regional director at the UNHCR, expressed concern over preventable deaths and the urgent demand for humanitarian aid.
Through his visit to South Sudan, Gen. Burhan hopes to contribute to finding a solution to the Sudanese crisis. The outcome of these talks and the ongoing efforts of President Kiir hold the promise of a path towards resolution and peace.