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UK Would Resume Bilateral Ties with Sudan Only Under Civilian-Led Government

UK Would Resume Bilateral Ties with Sudan Only Under Civilian-Led Government

Sunday, 2 October, 2022 - 07:00
Protests demanding a civilian-led government in Sudan (AP)

Two British officials said there are significant differences between parties to the Sudanese conflict, stressing that dialogue must include all parties to resolve the current political crisis in the country.

The officials stressed that the UK expects the military side not to obstruct the political settlement, noting that the resumption of bilateral relations with London is tied to forming a civilian-led transitional government in Sudan.

UK Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Robert Fairweather said it wasn't easy, but it is essential to listen to all parties and discuss establishing confidence and making progress.

Fairweather was on a three-day visit to Sudan, accompanied by the UK's envoy to the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea, Sarah Montgomery.

He highlighted significant differences between the Sudanese parties, and said the UK received some positive indications. However, he stressed that actions are more important than words.

The two British officials reiterated their country's support for dialogue between the parties to reach a settlement that leads to a political breakthrough, represented by the formation of a civilian-led transitional government.

During his visit to Sudan, the envoy met with the Chairman of the Transitional Sovereign Council, General Abdulfattah al-Burhan, Forces of Freedom and Change, and the National Consensus Forces, affiliated with the army.

Fairweather stressed the need for all to "demonstrate flexibility and compromise if real progress is to be made. Vital for Sudanese actors and coalitions to unite and deliver transition demanded by people of Sudan."

For his part, Burhan affirmed the need to reach a national consensus, expand the base of political participation, and return to the transitional path after the military component announced its withdrawal from the political process.

He expressed his confidence in the Trilateral Mechanism as a platform, calling on the UK and the international community to urge the parties to cooperate and achieve a political settlement.

The visit affirms London's support for a settlement that leads to a political breakthrough and the formation of a framework for a comprehensive civilian transitional government in Sudan.

Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that British officials held a meeting with the Trilateral Mechanism, consisting of UNITAMS, the African Union, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), where civil and military forces held talks.

Britain participates in the quadripartite mechanism, which includes Saudi Arabia, the US, and the UAE, that seeks to bring the positions closer between the army and the civilian forces to reach a political settlement to resolve the crisis.

UNITMAS Chief Volker Perthes stressed the inevitable need for political dialogue and said the path requires an explicit agreement on the tasks of the transitional period and the distribution of roles and responsibilities among various players.

Perthes asserted that military leaders should not play political roles, noting that the Trilateral Mechanism will continue exerting efforts with its partners in the international community to reach a political agreement.

He said: "Almost all stakeholders, including notably the military, have expressed that they want the Trilateral Mechanism to play a role – either in bringing the different initiatives together, coming up with bridging proposals or eventually mediating an agreement with the military."

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