Saturday, 17 August, 2019

Sudan's military council suspends talks with opposition for 72 hours

Sudan's military seek to build on a political breakthrough overshadowed by deadly shootings the US blamed on generals Sudan's military seek to build on a political breakthrough overshadowed by deadly shootings the US blamed on generals
Patty Aguilar | 18 May, 2019, 04:11

"We hold the military council responsible for attacking civilians", said Amjad Farid, a spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals' Association (SPA), which spearheaded months of protests that led to the military's removal of President Omar al-Bashir last month.

It promised to maintain sit-in protests outside the Defense Ministry and across the country.

Sudan's military rulers have suspended talks with protest leaders to form a transitional body as they demanded protesters dismantle barricades set up around the capital, Khartoum.

Ruaa Obaid said she and fellow protesters are still waiting for an announcement on a final agreement, expected Wednesday night.

There has been a protracted sit-in by protesters outside the army headquarters since the military seized power from veteran leader Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

Burhan said transportation arteries around Khartoum had been blocked and there was "infiltration of armed elements among demonstrators who were shooting at security forces".

Protesters walk toward the sit-in protest outside the Sudanese military headquarters, in Khartoum, Sudan, May 14, 2019.

Sudan's opposition alliance has described the suspension of talks with protesters by the ruling military council as a "regrettable decision".

The TMC said the DFCF would have two-thirds of the seats on a transitional legislative council while parties outside the alliance would take the rest. "They want to provoke the people by delaying the negotiations. but the negotiations will resume now that the roadblocks have been removed", said Moatassim Sayid, a protester at the sit-in.

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On Monday they blocked roads in central Khartoum in an escalation of tactics after security forces used tear gas to disperse dozens of protesters across the Nile in Khartoum North, Reuters witnesses said.

Still to be negotiated between Sudan's generals and protest leaders is the thorniest question of all: Who will head the proposed 11-member sovereign council, the body that will collectively function as a head of state with some far reaching powers along with ceremonial duties.

The Transitional Military Council (TMC), which took over after overthrowing and jailing Bashir, has said it would not tolerate the continued closure of main Khartoum roads and bridges by protesters but promised not to use force to disperse the sit-ins.

Discussions between the two sides that started on Monday to determine the makeup of the transitional body have been overshadowed by violence.

Before the suspension, General Yasser al-Atta, one of the members of the current ruling military council, had vowed to reach a deal by early Thursday that "meets the people's aspirations".

The army generals had initially insisted on a two-year transition period, while the protest leaders wanted four years.

"The tragic attacks on protesters. were clearly the result of the Transitional Military Council trying to impose its will on the protesters by attempting to remove roadblocks", the USA embassy said in a statement.

Only the defence and interior ministries would be headed by military figures, he said.

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