Sudan unrest military,WRAP newseries
June 19 2019 - 9:22 PM
Sudan army ruler seeks to resume talks with protest leaders
By Tony GAMAL-GABRIEL and Abdelmoneim ABU IDRIS ALI
ATTENTION - ADDS analyst quote ///
Khartoum, June 19, 2019 (AFP) - Sudan's army ruler Wednesday called on
protest leaders to resume talks on the transfer of power without any
conditions, as tension between the two sides persists after the bloody
dispersal of demonstrators.
Dozens of protesters were killed and hundreds wounded on June 3 when a
weeks-long protest camp was violently dispersed by gunmen in military
fatigues, who stormed the site shooting and beating demonstrators outside the
army headquarters in Khartoum.
The raid came after the collapse of earlier negotiations between the ruling
generals and protest leaders in which they were unable to agree on who should
lead a new governing body -- a civilian or soldier.
The generals, who seized power after the army ousted longtime ruler Omar
al-Bashir on April 11, have resisted calls to hand power to civilians as
demanded by the protesters.
Bashir was ousted after initial protests that erupted six months ago on
December 19 over the tripling of bread prices morphed into a nationwide
movement against his three-decades of iron-fisted rule.
But on Wednesday, Sudan's army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said
the ruling military council was ready to hold talks with the umbrella protest
movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, and other political groups
without any pre-conditions.
"We are calling on the Alliance for Freedom and Change and all political
powers to come and sit without any conditions... we need a solution that
satisfies all people," Burhan said in a speech in Khartoum broadcast on state
"The country has been without a government for three months... the Sudanese
people and foreign policy have been affected by the lack of government,"
"We don't want the situation to get out of control. We don't want to see
another coup," he said.
- Burhan defends RSF -
The generals said last week that more than one coup attempt had been
planned against the ruling military council since it took power, but they were
thwarted and two groups of officers had been taken into custody.
As tensions between the two sides soared after the June 3 crackdown,
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed led mediation efforts that saw protest
leaders agree to resume talks but only under certain conditions.
Protest leaders insist an internet blackout imposed after they launched a
civil disobedience campaign this month be brought to an end.
They are also seeking an international probe into the killings and the
acceptance of all earlier agreements reached in previous negotiations with the
generals prior to the crackdown.
Before the talks were suspended and the protest crackdown happened, the
generals and protest leaders had agreed on a three-year transition period and
the creation of a 300-member parliament dominated by lawmakers from the
protesters' umbrella group.
Protesters and rights groups say the brutal crackdown was carried out by
members of the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces led by General Mohamed
Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy chief of the ruling military council.
On Wednesday, Burhan defended the paramilitary group.
"There are some groups raising suspicions about the RSF to try to get them
out of the political scene, but the RSF are an integral part of the armed
forces," he said.
The military council has expressed "regret" over what happened but insists
it only ordered the clearing of an area near the protest camp where drug
dealers had reportedly operated.
"I think we need to see measures from the military council that build
trust, build confidence" among the Sudanese public and the international
community, Britain's ambassador to Khartoum, Irfan Siddiq, told AFP.
Analysts say the uprising that toppled Bashir risks losing the goals of
freedom and democracy it set out to achieve.
"This is still the power of the guns versus the power of the street," Alan
Boswell, senior analyst with the International Crisis Group said.
"The guns remain divided, and the street remains formidable. The revolution
is in great peril. Yet it is far from over."