Sudan’s army won’t take part in political talks, leader says

CAIRO, July 4 (Reuters) – Sudan’s military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said on Monday the army would not participate in internationally led dialogue efforts to break its stalemate with the civilian opposition, and urged political and revolutionary groups to start talks to form a transitional government.

Last October, Sudan’s military staged a coup, dissolving a transitional government formed after President Omar al-Bashir was toppled in a 2019 popular uprising.

The military takeover triggered frequent mass rallies demanding the army quit politics. The United Nations and the African Union have led mediation efforts to break the deadlock as the economic crisis has worsened, but there has been little sign of progress.

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Burhan spoke on television as protesters in the capital Khartoum increased pressure on military rulers by holding days of sit-ins against the death of nine civilians on Thursday during anti-military rallies. read more

About 2,000 people were participating in one sit-in near the city centre on Monday afternoon, a Reuters witness said.

Sudan’s Sovereign Council Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan attends a news conference during a visit to Paris, France, May 17, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier/Pool/File Photo

On Monday, Burhan said the army’s decision not to participate in talks was to allow political and revolutionary groups to form a government. Since the coup, most civilian groups have refused to negotiate with the military, which has led to the current stalemate.

He called on civilian groups to start a serious dialogue to bring the country back to a democratic transition. The military will be committed to implementing the outcomes of the dialogue, he said.

Burhan said the ruling sovereign council that he leads, and which includes military and civilian members, would be dissolved after a new government forms.

A new Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would then be created and be responsible for security and defence tasks as well as related responsibilities in agreement with the government, Burhan said.

His comments did not further clarify how much of a political role the armed forces would play going forward.

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Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Mahmoud Mourad; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Josie Kao

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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