Khartoum — The Chairman of Sudan's Sovereignty Council and commander-in-chief of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, met with the presidents of the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Comoros, and the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Russia in Khartoum, after his return to Sudan on Saturday.
El Burhan had just returned from New York where he, along with other world leaders, addressed the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. El Burhan also held an impromptu "unscheduled meeting" with Ukraine's President, Volodymyr Zelensky, during a refuelling stop at Shannon Airport on Ireland's west coast, while en route back to Sudan.
During El Burhan's meeting with the CAR, Comoros, Saudi, and Russian delegations on Saturday, Russia declared its support for efforts to reach a political solution in Sudan, produce a Sudanese-Sudanese solution, and facilitate dialogue between the parties.
During his trip to New York, El Burhan also met with UN Secretary-General and the chairperson of the African Union Commission. On Friday, on the sidelines of the UN meetings on Friday he had a meeting with International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan.
According to a press statement by the Sovereignty Council on Saturday, El Burhan and Khan discussed the crimes allegedly being committed by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Khartoum, Darfur, and other parts of Sudan. The ICC prosecutor said that the current crimes seem to be an extension of what was committed in Darfur since the war in the region broke out about 20 years ago.
El Burhan stressed the keenness of the Sudanese government to achieve justice for the victims of the current crimes and previous crimes committed in Darfur by the same elements that systematically violate international laws in its current war in Sudan and commit heinous crimes against civilians.
"The government attaches great importance to cooperating with the court and opening channels of communication with it," he said, according to the press statement.
During the meeting, Khan reviewed the efforts of the ICC and its quest to achieve justice and hold accountable the perpetrators of serious crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the Court, and pointed out that his investigations in the coming period will include Chad and some areas in Sudan, expressing his openness to deal with the Sudanese authorities in the service of justice and accountability.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter) after meeting El Burhan, Khan stressed Sudan's obligations under Security Council resolutions, stressing the need for their cooperation with the ICC.
Khan explained in an interview with Al Arabiya that the meeting included a reminder of the obligations to justice for the people of Darfur, and to ensure justice in light of the ongoing war. "I listened to promises, but I demanded action, not words," and added: "When we meet our Creator, we must confirm that we have done what we should."
He stressed that the court has jurisdiction to confront both sides the armed forces led by El Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces led by Hemedti. He stressed that the court would start the investigation after the availability of evidence and will include all parties.
According to Mahmoud, the meeting was a message to prosecute all those accused of Darfur crimes, including Burhan, and stressed that El Burhan is primarily responsible for the release of Al Bashir and the rest of those wanted.
The meeting was seen as a confrontation between Karim Khan and El Burhan. "I expect El Burhan to reach the dock at the ICC no matter how long or short," the lawyer added
Regarding El Burhan's accusations against Hemedti and the RSF of committing serious crimes, Mahmoud described them as "accusations between partners that have no legal value". He said that "investigations form the decisive factor in the matter and both warring sides are responsible for exercising their forces".