The United Nations announced on Wednesday (June 8) that discussions had begun with the goal of breaking the political impasse that has persisted in Sudan. The most important democracy group in the country has decided not to go to the meeting because police are still beating up protesters who are against the military coup that happened in October of last year.
The combined peace effort was first spearheaded by the United Nations Political Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), the African Union, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is an eight-nation East African regional group. The purpose of this initiative is to bring about negotiations between the generals as well as a wide variety of political and protest groups.
The short-lived and precarious democratic transition in Sudan has been thrown into disarray as a result of the seizure by the military, which has thrown the entire East African nation into chaos. Sudan has been in the process of transitioning to democracy after nearly three decades of persecution and international isolation under the rule of an Islamist-backed strongman named Omar al-Bashir.
Wednesday marked the beginning of the process, which was kicked off by the United Nations, the African Union, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). It was the culmination of separate conversations that had been going on for several months with a wide variety of groups, including the military and the democratic movement. Volker Perthes, the United Nations envoy for Sudan, stated that during the process, a “transitional program” would be discussed. This “transitional program” would include picking a civilian prime minister, making plans for writing a permanent constitution, and holding elections when the transition is over.
The leader of the coup, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, who also serves as the head of the ruling sovereign council, expressed his satisfaction with the negotiations, describing them as a “historic opportunity to conclude the transitional process.” Late on Tuesday night, he gave a speech to the nation in which he invited all groups to participate in the discussions and pledged that the military would enforce the outcome of the talks. He stated, “We are totally committed to working with everybody to bring an end to the transitional period as quickly as possible with elections that are fair and transparent.”
On the other hand, a coalition of political parties and protest groups known as the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change (FDFC) has decided to skip the gathering. According to them, the talks should result in “putting an end to the coup and establishing a civilian democratic leadership.” Aside from that, they criticized the involvement of pro-military groups and Islamists who had been linked to al-regime Bashir’s government in the past.
Additionally, the alliance demanded the execution of trust-building measures, including the release of detainees suspected of involvement in the coup, as well as an end to the use of violence against protestors. While these talks are going on, anti-coup protests in the capital city of Khartoum are being violently put down.