Resume talks without terms, Sudan army urges protesters - GulfToday

Resume talks without terms, Sudan army urges protesters


Barbers shave their customers in Khartoum on Wednesday. Reuters

Sudan’s military council on Wednesday urged opposition leaders to resume negotiations on the transition of power, without preconditions, but the comments could further complicate the already stalled transition process as protest organisers continue their night-time demonstrations demanding civilian rule.

General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the council, told a gathering of health workers in Khartoum that the council did not have preconditions for returning to the negotiating table with the Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, which has represented protesters, so neither should the protesters.

“I repeat our invitation to all political forces and the FDFC to come (for talks), and there is no need for preconditions. We do not deny their role in the uprising and the popular revolution, but the solution should be satisfactory to all Sudanese factions,” he said.

Protests leaders could not be reached immediately for comment.

Burhan warned of the possibility of another coup as the country “cannot afford being without a government” more than three months after the military ousted autocratic president Omar Al Bashir in April.

“We do not want that things went out of control. A new coup could be carried out because of the country’s impasse,” he said.

The country’s ruler criticised the sit-in.

“The political agenda were visible in the sit-in square. We have seen diplomats, intelligence agencies and suspicious groups. All of them were present in the sit-in,” Burhan said. He did not elaborate.

Amid the political impasse, protesters took to the streets late Tuesday in Khartoum and elsewhere in the country in response to the FDFC call to pressure the military to hand over power.

The Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which has been spearheading the protests since December, posted several videos and images it said were from different parts of the country. Protesters were seen shouting “Just fall,” which was the same chant used in the protests against Bashir.

Separately, Britain’s envoy to Khartoum said Sudan’s ruling generals must swiftly hand power to civilians if they are to regain the trust they lost.

Irfan Siddiq, Britain’s ambassador to Khartoum and a leading advocate of civilian rule in Sudan, said the military council was ultimately responsible.

“At the end of the day, it is the security forces who conducted these raids and led to the killings of the people,” Siddiq said in an interview at his official residence in Khartoum.

“Therefore, the military council bears responsiblity for taking the steps to build and rebuild the trust and confidence that would enable the civilian transition to occur.”

Siddiq, a fluent Arabic speaker who began his Khartoum posting in April 2018, said the international community was waiting for the committee’s report.

“But until that happens, the military council is responsible for security and therefore it’s responsible for what happened,” he said.

“Therefore, I think we need to see measures from the military council that build trust, build confidence” among the Sudanese public and the international community, he added.

Minutes after the assault began, Siddiq, whose residence is near the army headquarters, had heard gunshots and raised the alarm on social media.

“No excuse for any such attack. This. Must. Stop. Now,” he tweeted as the operation was in progress.

He said he had heard the attack taking place at 5am on June 3.

“I could hear the shooting and it seemed to me that it was pretty clear to me what was happening, which is why I made my statement,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the killing happened and a lot of people lost their lives and there has been trust that has been lost.”

Siddiq said the African country could face major problems if it fails to install civilian rule.

“A country like Sudan that has suffered for 30 years with bad governance, with isolation, with sanctions, with conflict, with economic mismanagement, really needs and deserves better,” he said.

London summoned Sudan’s ambassador following the killings, and Khartoum retaliated in kind by summoning Siddiq.


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