The head of the Sovereignty Council, Sudanese Army Commander Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, expressed a conditional willingness to negotiate with Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (Hemedti), after warning of the conflict spreading outside the country.

Since mid-April, the army and the RSF have been fighting a war that has left more than 5,5 people dead, as well as more than <> million displaced people and refugees inside and outside one of the world's poorest countries, according to the United Nations.

After his speech to the 78th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Burhan said he was confident of victory over the support forces.

In an interview with the BBC published on Saturday evening, Burhan reiterated that he would sit with Hemedti as long as he was committed to protecting civilians, which both sides pledged during talks in the Saudi city of Jeddah last May, adding: "We are ready to participate in negotiations."

On the sixth of May, Saudi Arabia and the United States began sponsoring talks between the army and the Rapid Support, which resulted in an agreement between the two sides to protect civilians, in addition to more than one truce that was violated and the two sides exchanged accusations of responsibility, prompting Riyadh and Washington to suspend negotiations.

"If the leadership of these rebel forces (referring to the RSF) wants to come to their senses and withdraw their forces from residential areas and return to their barracks, we will sit down with any of them, especially if they abide by what was agreed in Jeddah, we will sit down to solve this problem," al-Burhan said.

Conversations and accusations

A few days ago, Hemedti announced in a video that he was ready to start political talks. Both sides have repeatedly declared their readiness to resume negotiations, but this has not happened and the pace of fighting on the ground has not abated.

In an interview with Al Jazeera English, Burhan accused Hemedti of "breaking promises," calling for the designation of these forces as a "terrorist" organization.

Burhan said Hemedti did not abide by the understandings reached by the two sides in the Jeddah negotiations in Saudi Arabia, and that the Rapid Support Forces continued to fight in the western city of El Geneina, other cities, and near the General Command of the Sudanese army in Khartoum.

He pointed out that what he described as rebel groups came from many countries in the region, and warned that the conflict will spread to those countries if it ends in Sudan or expands outside it.

Burhan said in his interview with Al Jazeera English that "what the Rapid Support Forces have done to the Sudanese people repeatedly makes them terrorists, and they must be punished." "What these gangs have committed is really a crime against humanity, and I think that classifying them as a terrorist organization will limit their power and limit sympathy for them," he said.

Burhan said the Sudanese army commits itself to the ethics of combat, particularly in urban areas.

Battles and disagreements

While the UN believes neither warring side appears to be close to a decisive military victory, Burhan told the BBC he was confident the RSF would be defeated.

But he admitted he had to move his headquarters to the city of Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast (east), because fighting in the capital Khartoum made it impossible for the government to continue.

"In Khartoum, diplomatic missions, ministries and all government agencies cannot carry out their duties normally, because it is a war zone, there are snipers and military operations taking place," he said.

Burhan and Hemedti have many differences, most notably over the timeframe for implementing a proposal to integrate the RSF into the army, a key clause in a hoped-for agreement to return power in the transitional period to civilians.

When he was allied with Hemedti, Burhan imposed in October 2021 exceptional measures, including the dissolution of the transitional cabinet and sovereign council, which the rejectionists considered a military coup, while Burhan said it was a correction to the course of the transitional period, vowing to return power to civilians.