By Enyichukwu Enemanna
South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday hosted the leader of the Sudanese Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Pretoria, in continuation of his tour of African capitals.
Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, Commander of the Sudanese paramilitary forces fighting the national army, had earlier visited Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan is head of the Sudanese army.
“I briefed President Ramaphosa on the root causes of the war and the factors contributing to its persistence,” Dagalo 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 RSF leader and head of the Sudanese army have never met since the start of the war April last year, plunging Sudan into a humanitarian crisis.
About 12,000 have been feared dead, according to a conservative estimate by the ACLED analysis group, while 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 cease-fire, and the dialogue toward 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 cease-fire 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.
Dagalo has shown an openness to ending the fighting during his visits abroad, expressing on Thursday “our full readiness to stop the war.”