This handout photograph taken and distributed by South Africa’s Government Communication And Information System (GCIS) on January 4, 2024 shows the leader of Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) Mohamed Daglo (L) on a visit to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (R) at his official residence in Pretoria. (Photo by GCIS / AFP)
(AFP) – Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, the commander of Sudanese paramilitary forces that are fighting the national army, met South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria on Thursday as part of a tour of African capitals.
Daglo has also met regional leaders in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Djibouti since late December, his first visits abroad since the start of the conflict in mid-April.
“I briefed President Ramaphosa on the root causes of the war and the factors contributing to its persistence,” Daglo posted on X, formerly Twitter.
“I emphasised our unwavering commitment to cease hostilities despite the challenges arising from the reluctance of the opposing force and their intentional efforts to prolong this conflict,” he said.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an organisation of eight East African countries, has been trying to bring Daglo to the table with Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the Sudanese army.
The two men have never met since the start of the war that has plunged Sudan into a humanitarian crisis, with 12,000 dead, according to a conservative estimate by the ACLED analysis group, and more than seven million people displaced, according to the United Nations.
“President Ramaphosa expressed South Africa’s support for the imminent face to face dialogue between General Dagalo and General Burhan and reiterated the need for an immediate ceasefire, and the dialogue towards permanent cessation of hostilities,” the South African president’s office said in a statement, using an alternative spelling for the paramilitary leader.
The US State Department said African leaders meeting with either side “should send a very clear message that there’s no acceptable military solution to the conflict in Sudan.”
“We want to see both parties return to the negotiating table, we want to see a ceasefire that is actually adhered to, and we want to see both parties to this conflict stop their brutal attacks on civilians and actually take actions that are in the interests of the people of Sudan,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.
Daglo has shown an openness to ending the fighting during his visits abroad, expressing on Thursday “our full readiness to stop the war.”
But earlier mediations have led to short-term truces that weren’t respected.
In recent weeks, fighting has extended to Al-Jazira state in the east, which had been spared up to now and had become a refuge for half a million people.
Meanwhile, Sudan’s national government Thursday recalled its ambassador from Kenya to protest Kenyan President William Ruto meeting Daglo during the Sudanese paramilitary leader’s tour of East African capitals.
© Agence France-Presse