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Sudan protest group rejects UN plan for talks with military rulers
9 January 2022, 16:24
The UN initiative is aimed at restoring the country’s democratic transition following an October coup.
A leading Sudanese protest group has rejected a United Nations initiative to hold talks with the military aimed at restoring the country’s democratic transition following an October coup.
The move is a blow to international efforts seeking an end to Sudan’s political deadlock, and suggests that street protests are likely to continue.
Over 60 people have been killed since the military takeover.
The UN offer on Saturday came a week after embattled prime minister Abdalla Hamdok resigned, citing a failure to reach compromise between the generals and the pro-democracy movement.
The October 25 coup scuttled hopes of a peaceful transition, over two years after a popular uprising forced the military overthrow of autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government.
In a statement, the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), which led the upraising against Mr al-Bashir, said the “only way” out of the ongoing crisis is through the removal of the generals from power.
It seeks a fully civilian government to lead the transition, underlined by the motto “No negotiations, no compromise, no power-sharing” with the military.
The SPA has been the backbone of anti-coup protests, alongside youth groups known as the Resistance Committees.
Protesters continued their marches in Khartoum on Sunday, with security forces firing tear gas to disperse demonstrators near the presidential palace, according to activist Nazim Sirag.
Security forces also opened fire on protesters in the capital’s Bahri district. At least one protester was injured, Mr Sirag said.
Healthcare workers, who joined Sunday’s protests, demanded the government guarantee security at hospitals, which have been repeatedly stormed by security forces during demonstrations.
A young protester died in the hospital on Sunday from his injuries, the Sudan Doctors Committee said. Alaa el-din Adel, 17, was shot in the neck during Thursday’s protests in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman.
His killing raised the death toll since the coup to at least 61, according to the doctors committee.
Volker Perthes, the UN envoy for Sudan, said that the talks would be inclusive to try to reach a “sustainable path forward towards democracy and peace” in the country.
“It is time to end the violence and enter into a constructive process. This process will be inclusive,” he said.
Though the envoy has yet to offer details of the UN-facilitated political process, the SPA’s rejection deals a blow to his efforts to bring the generals and the pro-democracy movement to the negotiating table.
Mr Perthes is planning to offer more details in a news conference in Khartoum on Monday.
The SPA said Mr Perthes’ moves have been “controversial,” citing his efforts in supporting a deal Mr Hamdok stuck with the military in November that reinstated him but sidelined the pro-democracy movement.
“He has to listen carefully to the aims of our proud people and their revolutionary forces in establishing a fully civilian, national rule,” it said.