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Sunday, December 04, 2022

Sudan’s civilian group rejects talks with military after coup

Sudan’s civilian bloc on Monday rejected UN-assisted talks with the military to resolve the crisis sparked by a military coup last year, saying meetings do not solve the problem.

The United Nations, along with the African Union and the regional IGAD bloc, has been pushing for Sudanese-led talks to resolve the impasse since army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan led a military power grab in October, calling for freedom and change. The civilian forces were driven out. (FFC).

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The FFC said it received an invitation from the UN-AU-IGAD trio for a technical meeting with the military on Wednesday, but it “apologised” and said they would not attend.

The October coup derailed a delicate transition to civilian rule that was instituted after the 2019 ouster of President Omar al-Bashir.

In a statement, the FFC said the meeting “does not address the nature of the crisis” and that any political process should work on “ending the coup and establishing a democratic civil authority”.

This cannot be done by flooding the political process with parties representing the coup camp or associated with the former regime.

Protests against the coup took place in many parts of Khartoum on Monday demanding civilian rule.

Witnesses said they were met by heavy deployment of security forces, canisters of tear gas.

Since the coup, Sudan has been rocked by nearly weekly protests and a violent crackdown that has killed nearly 100 people, according to pro-democracy practitioners.

Last week, the Burhan week lifted the state of emergency since the coup to set the stage for a “meaningful dialogue that will seek stability for a transitional period”.

Military officials have agreed to start “direct talks” between Sudanese factions. Authorities have also released several civilian leaders and pro-democracy activists who have been arrested since the coup in recent weeks.

However, the FFC said on Monday that other activists were still in jail and that protests were being suppressed.

On Saturday, UN human rights expert Adama Dieng, on his second visit to Sudan after the coup, condemned the killing of protesters and the “excessive use of force” by security forces.

On Sunday, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Fey arrived in Sudan to “support the Sudanese-led process to resolve the crisis”.

Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries, was already grappling with a declining economy caused by decades of international isolation and mismanagement under Bashir’s leadership.

But the turmoil has intensified since the coup amid international aid cuts.

Read more: Sudanese protester shot dead in Khartoum after emergency is lifted: doctor

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