Protesters in Sudan reject UN-led talks with the military.
On Sunday, a leading Sudanese protest group rejected a United Nations initiative to hold talks with the military in order to restore the country’s democratic transition after an October coup.
Sudan’s political impasse and unending street protests are likely to continue, with at least 60 people killed since the military takeover.
The United Nations offer came a week after embattled Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok resigned, citing a failure to reach an agreement between the generals and the pro-democracy movement.
Over two years after a popular uprising forced the military overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government, the Oct. 25 coup dashed hopes for a peaceful transition.
The Sudanese Professionals Association, which led the uprising against al-Bashir, said in a statement that the “only way” out of the current crisis is for the generals to be removed from power. As emphasized by the slogan “No negotiations, no compromise, no power-sharing” with the military, it seeks a completely civilian government to lead the transition.
The SPA, along with youth groups known as Resistance Committees, has been the backbone of anti-coup protests.
Protesters marched again in Khartoum on Sunday, with security forces using tear gas to disperse demonstrators in at least one location, according to activist Nazim Sirag. There were no reports of casualties at the time.
The United Nations envoy for Sudan, Volker Perthes, stated that the talks would be inclusive in order to find a “sustainable path forward towards democracy and peace” in the country.
“It is time to put an end to the violence and begin a constructive process.” “This will be an inclusive process,” he said.
Though the envoy has yet to provide details about the United Nations-mediated political process, the rejection of the SPA is a setback to his efforts to bring the generals and the pro-democracy movement to the negotiating table.
Perthes intends to provide additional details at a news conference in Khartoum on Monday.
Perthes’ actions, according to the SPA, have been “controversial,” citing his efforts to support a November deal Hamdok struck with the military that reinstated him but sidelined the pro-democracy movement.
“He must pay close attention to the goals of our proud people and their revolutionary forces in establishing a fully civilian, national rule,” the statement said.
The United Nations initiative was welcomed by the world and regional powers.
According to the 2019 constructional document that established the transitional government, the United States, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates urged all Sudanese players to “seize this opportunity to restore the country’s transition to civilian democracy.”
At the United Nations, five countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, Albania, France, and Norway – requested a Security Council meeting to discuss the situation in Sudan. Diplomats believe it will take place on Tuesday or Wednesday.
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