Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Sudan Military Council Calls for Talks, Says Agreement Looming on Horizon

Sudan Military Council Calls for Talks, Says Agreement Looming on Horizon

Thursday, 30 May, 2019 - 09:15
Sudanese demonstrators run from teargas lobbed to disperse them as they march along the street during anti-government protests in Khartoum, Sudan. Reuters file photo

A general strike continued for the second day in a row in various cities of Sudan which, according to organizers, was a great success in reviving the political process after days of tension.

Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) had called for the two-day strike from Tuesday to pressure the military junta to transfer power to civilians.

The participation rate in the strike rose on the second day, after thousands of employees and public servants, including workers at the Ministry of Petroleum and Gas, joined in.

The surprise came from Darfur, where DFCF announced that the strike was completely successful, as hundreds gathered in al-Fashir, capital of North Darfur, chanting for a civilian authority.

Employees at the Central Bank of Sudan also staged a rally outside the bank's headquarters in Khartoum, protesting harassment by government forces against some of their colleagues.

The strike continued in the banks and commercial banks of Khartoum and their branches in other states. The protest of Central Bank employees led to a complete cessation of financial transactions.

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) said it launched an investigation into the harassment incident and announced the closure of all branches of the bank. It warned the authorities and security forces against attacking any of the protesters.

The Association stressed its determination to achievr the goals declared in the Declaration of Freedom and Change, namely establishing the transitional civil authority.

Employees from other sectors, including the workers at the airport, medical staff and workers at the administration of electricity and water authority, also joined the strike.

The Transitional Military Council (TMC) agreed, 24 hours after the strike, to resume the negotiations with the Declaration Forces and other political forces without giving a specific time.

TMC spokesman General Shams el-Din Kabbashi asserted the Council is close to agreeing with Freedom and Change forces on the document of the transitional period.

Member of DFCF’s negotiating delegation Madani Abbas Madani stated that the Forces didn’t receive any invitation for negotiations from the Military Council.

Madani told Asharq al-Awsat that the statements made by the TMC spokesman are positive and can create the most suitable atmosphere for dialogue.

He pointed out that the strike exceeded the expectations of the Forces, and sent a clear message to the Military Council.

TMC Vice-President Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo stated that the Council will not close the door to negotiations and dialogue with the DFCF, stressing that the Council and the Forces are partners in the change and overthrowing the former regime.

Dagolo indicated that had the Armed Forces not joined the revolution, the former regime would have remained in power. He asserted that the Council will not allow the country to reach a state of chaos similar to Syria and Libya.

Meanwhile, deputy chairman of a faction of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) Yasir Arman announced receiving six letters from the Council ordering him to leave the country, but he refused. He arrived in the country abruptly last Sunday without arrangements to return.

Arman and fellow SPLM-N leader Malik Agar were sentenced to death in absentia in March 2014 by a Sudanese court in Sanjia.  

In other developments, the Khartoum prosecutor summoned former Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi to testify on Thursday in the open report filed against ousted president Omar al-Bashir and others on charges of undermining the constitutional system and seizing civilian power through a military coup.

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