Sudan – On Sunday, a key Sudanese protest group rejected a UN proposal to undertake negotiations with the military to restore the country’s democratic transition after an October coup. Sudan’s political impasse and unending street protests are set to continue, with at least 60 people killed since the military took over. The United Nations offer came a week after embattled Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok resigned, claiming an inability to achieve an agreement with the generals and the pro-democracy movement.
Over two years after a popular uprising forced the military ouster of longstanding tyrant Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist regime, the Oct. 25 coup dashed hopes of a smooth transition. The Sudanese Professionals Association, which launched the uprising against al-Bashir, stated in a statement that the “only way” out of the situation is for the generals to be removed from office. The motto “No negotiations, no compromise, no power-sharing” with the military emphasizes the need for a wholly civilian government to lead the transition.
The SPA, along with youth groups known as the Resistance Committees, has been at the forefront of anti-coup demonstrations. According to activist Nazim Sirag, protesters continued their marches in Khartoum on Sunday, with security forces firing tear gas in at least one spot to separate crowds. There were no immediate reports of casualties. The negotiations, according to Volker Perthes, the UN ambassador for Sudan, will be inclusive in order to find a “sustainable route forward towards democracy and peace” in the country. “It is past time to put an end to the violence and begin a productive dialogue.” “This will be an inclusive approach,” he stated.
The SPA’s rejection is a setback to the envoy’s efforts to bring the generals and the pro-democracy movement to the bargaining table, even though the envoy has yet to provide details of the UN-facilitated political process. At a news conference in Khartoum on Monday, Perthes plans to provide more details. Perthes’ actions, according to the SPA, have been “controversial,” citing his support for a deal Hamdok struck with the military in November that reinstalled him but put the pro-democracy movement on the back burner. “He must pay close attention to our patriotic people’s and revolutionary forces’ goals in creating totally civilian, national rule,” it read.
The United Nations initiative was greeted positively by world and regional powers. According to the 2019 constructional agreement forming the transitional government, the United States, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates urged all Sudanese stakeholders to “seize this chance to restore the country’s transition to civilian democracy.” Five nations—the United States, the United Kingdom, Albania, France, and Norway—have sought a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the situation in Sudan. According to diplomats, it is expected to take place on Tuesday or Wednesday.