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China, Russia Block UN Action on Sudan as Western Powers Denounce Election Plan

China, Russia Block UN Action on Sudan as Western Powers Denounce Election Plan

Wednesday, 5 June, 2019 - 05:45
Sudanese protesters are seen near burning tyres used to erect a barricade on a street, demanding that the country's Transitional Military Council handover power to civilians, in Khartoum, Sudan June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

China, backed by Russia, blocked a bid at the UN Security Council on Tuesday to condemn the killing of civilians in Sudan after the United States, Britain and Norway denounced a plan by Sudanese military rulers to hold elections within nine months.

During a closed-door council meeting, Britain and Germany circulated a press statement that would have called on the military rulers and protesters to "continue working together towards a consensual solution to the current crisis," according to the draft seen by Agence France Presse.

But China firmly objected to the proposed text while Russia insisted that the council should await a response from the African Union, diplomats said.

Russian Deputy Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy said the proposed statement was "unbalanced" and stressed the need to be "very cautious in this situation."

The council met a day after nearly 40 people were killed when security forces ended a weeks-long sit-in outside the army headquarters in Khartoum by protesters demanding an end to military rule.

Army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan announced Tuesday that he was scrapping a plan for a three-year transition period and would hold elections within nine months.

"By ordering these attacks, the Transitional Military Council has put the transition process and peace in Sudan in jeopardy," Washington, London and Oslo, which are active on Sudan, said in a joint statement.

"The people of Sudan deserve an orderly transition, led by civilians, that can establish the conditions for free and fair elections, rather than have rushed elections imposed by the TMC's security forces," they said.

"We call for an agreed transfer of power to a civilian-led government as demanded by the people of Sudan," the United States, Britain and Norway said.

Hours earlier, Moscow threw its support behind Burhan’s move.

“We welcome the statement by TMC head Burhan on the establishment of a technocratic government to govern the country during the transitional period and the holding of general elections in Sudan in nine months," the Russian Foreign Ministry said, adding that Moscow is against external pressure on Sudan.

According to analysts, Sudan is at risk of getting bloodier with more violence and chaos gripping the country.

Hassan Saouri, a political science professor at Neelain University in Khartoum, said the violence could spark more political uncertainty.

The northeast African nation could be headed "towards all kinds of chaos -- politically, militarily and societally," he told AFP from Khartoum.

"The chaotic scene could see younger military officers either joining the ranks of the revolution or backing the military council," he added.

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