Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has met in Cairo the deputy head of Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC), General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, whose forces have been accused of carrying out a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in June.

Dagalo, who is widely known as Hemeti and is seen as the most powerful of the generals now running Sudan, “presented the latest developments on the current situation”, the Egyptian presidency said after Monday’s meeting in the capital.

El-Sisi, a former army chief, reiterated Egypt’s “strategic support” in maintaining “the stability and security” of its neighbour, Sudan, the presidency added.

Egypt‘s government has been a strong backer of the TMC after the military overthrew longtime President Omar al-Bashir on April 11 in the wake of months-long mass protests against his three-decade autocratic rule.

Hemeti, the commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) – the feared paramilitary group accused of war crimes in Darfur under al-Bashir – has also shored up support from Gulf allies, meeting Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in May.

His meeting with el-Sisi came a day before talks between the TMC and the protest leaders were set to resume.

On July 17, the two sides signed a power-sharing deal aimed at forming a joint civilian-military ruling body which, in turn, would install civilian rule. The negotiations on Tuesday are meant to iron out remaining issues between the two sides.

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