Sudan plunged into chaos almost five months ago when long-simmering tensions between the military, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces, commanded by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, escalated into open warfare on April 15.
Burhan planned to hold talks with Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in the Qatari capital, Doha, according to a state-run news agency.
In a video posted by the Sudanese army, Burhan was filmed leaving a plane in Doha and numerous Qatari officials greeting him on an airport tarmac. The army chief’s arrival was also confirmed by the state-run Qatar News Agency.
During their meeting, Burhan and Al Thani discussed the challenges facing conflict-stricken Sudan, The Emiri Diwan said in statement. Al Thani reiterated his call for broad peace negotiations between all of Sudan’s political forces and a lasting stop to the fighting, the statement said.
Acting Foreign Minister Ali al-Sadiq and Gen. Ahmed Ibrahim Mufadel, head of the General Intelligence Authority, accompanied Burhan on the trip, said.
The visit comes amid a flurry of similar diplomatic meetings convened in Egypt and South Sudan. Burhan held talks about the conflict with South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, on Monday in Juba.
Last week, the general met with President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt in the Egyptian coastal city of el-Alamein, Burhan’s first trip abroad since the conflict broke out. Few details were made public about either trip.
The conflict in the northeast African country is estimated to have killed at least 4,000 people, according to the UN human rights office. Activists and doctors on the ground say the toll is likely far higher.
The fighting has displaced more than 5 million people, according to the most recent figures produced by the UN’s International Organization for Migration.
Despite international efforts, the conflict has shown few signs of easing. Formal peace negations mediated by the United States and Saudi Arabia in the kingdom’s coastal town of Jeddah were adjourned in late June with both mediators publicly calling out the Rapid Support Forces and the army for continually violating agreed-to truces.
There have been at least nine cease-fires between the army and the RSF since the fighting broke out. All were violated.
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