Sudan News & Discussions

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Sudan Protest Leaders Seek Talks to End Impasse with Military
23 May, 2019


Sudanese protesters wave national flags at a demonstration in front of the Defense Ministry compound in Khartoum, Sudan, on May 1, 2019. (Reuters)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Sudan protest leaders will turn to demonstrators camped outside the army headquarters for advice on how to end the impasse with the ruling military council on transitioning to civilian rule.

The protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, said it would launch a campaign to urge demonstrators who have been rallying for weeks outside the army complex in Khartoum, and in other cities, to come up with a solution to overcome the impasse.

"We will give them all the information, we will listen to their views on how they want to go ahead with the revolution," the umbrella protest group said in a statement.

Talks between the two sides have been suspended since Monday after a disagreement over who should lead a new governing body -- a civilian or the military.

The Alliance for Freedom and Change has led the nationwide protest movement against longtime leader Omar al-Bashir that finally led to his ouster on April 11.

The generals who seized power after Bashir was toppled have resisted calls from the demonstrators and the international community to step down, insisting that a new governing body be headed by an officer.

"We have one pending issue with the Transitional Military Council, the composition of the new sovereign council for which we have no agreement," said the alliance.

The statement, addressing thousands of supporters camped outside army headquarters, warned of "alternatives" to put pressure on the general.

"We have all alternatives, to launch a strike or a civil disobedience movement. The decision is yours," it said.

On Thursday, employees of several companies as well as government institutions, including the central bank, held spontaneous demonstrations in parts of Khartoum in support of the protest movement, witnesses said.

Later, scores of medics held a rally in front of a hospital in the capital.

They expressed their solidarity with the protesters, chanting "Fall of the military rule" and "Civil rule is the people's decision".

"We came from hospitals to make our voice heard that we are with the revolution from its beginning until now," said Omar Abdoun, a surgeon.

Medics along with engineers and teachers played a key role in nationwide protests against Bashir's rule by forming the Sudanese Professionals Association, the group that initially launched the anti-Bashir campaign.

The ruling military council meanwhile announced one of its members had left on "health grounds," adding that he had been replaced by Lieutenant General Jamaleddine Omar.

Several rounds of talks have failed to finalize the makeup of the new ruling body, with both the generals and protest leaders insisting on their demands.



 

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Sudanese Protesters Call for Strike Starting Next Tuesday
Saturday, 25 May, 2019


Sudan's protesters via AFP/File

Asharq Al-Awsat

The Sudanese Professionals' Association called for a nationwide strike set to begin on Tuesday.

The association released a statement on Saturday in which it asked people to go to work but abstain from any activity, then head to various marches and sit-ins across the country.

The days of protest are set to culminate in mass rallies on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

Despite ending al-Bashir's 30-year rule, protesters have remained in the streets demanding a "limited military representation" in a sovereign council.

Meanwhile the military wants to lead the body during an agreed-upon three-year transition.

In a statement distributed on social media, the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) also called for a strike starting at private and public enterprises that will include various professional sectors starting on Tuesday.

“The strike will continue for two days, and involved gathering at the protest squares in the national and state capitals,” the statement said, Reuters reported.


 

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BNP Paribas to face revived Sudan genocide lawsuit
by Reuters -
23rd May 2019

A US appeals court revived a lawsuit against BNP Paribas SA by alleged victims of a genocidal regime in Sudan, who sought to hold the French bank liable for aiding in government atrocities.

The 3-0 decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan came almost five years after BNP Paribas pleaded guilty and agreed to pay an $8.97 billion (7.08 billion pounds) penalty to settle US charges it transferred billions for Sudanese, Iranian and Cuban entities subject to economic sanctions.

Circuit Judge Barrington Parker said claims against BNP Paribas based on genocide in Sudan were subject to US judicial review and a lower court judge erred in concluding differently.

Twenty-one refugees now resident in the United States filed the proposed class action against BNP Paribas in 2016 over its role as the Sudan regime’s main bank from 1997 to 2007.

They said BNP Paribas’ processing of illegal transactions through its New York offices furthered the regime’s campaign of murder, mass rape, torture and deliberate HIV infection against its own people.

A bank spokeswoman declined to comment.

Dismissing the lawsuit in March 2018, US District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan said the act of state doctrine barred her from examining the validity of Sudan’s official actions and whether BNP Paribas should be liable for aiding them.

Parker said Sudan’s own laws and the “universal international consensus” against genocide prevented US courts from declaring genocide an “official act” of Sudan.

“Considering the lack of evidence introduced by BNPP that genocide is the official policy of Sudan and countervailing evidence that genocide blatantly violates Sudan’s own laws, we conclude there is simply no ‘official act’ a court would be required to ‘declare invalid’ to adjudicate plaintiffs’ claims,” he wrote.

The appeals court added Nathan erred in dismissing some claims as untimely and returned the case to her.

Tobias Barrington Wolff, a University of Pennsylvania law professor representing the plaintiffs, said they will pursue their claims in the district court.
“US courts should never give deference to human rights atrocities such as mass rape and ethnic cleansing,” he said.

BNP Paribas’ June 2014 guilty plea was the first by a global bank to large-scale, systematic violations of US economic sanctions, the Department of Justice said at the time.

 

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Sudan military council chief Al-Burhan visits Egypt for talks with President El-Sisi

AFP
May 25, 2019

  • General’s first foreign trip since taking power after the April removal of president Omar Al-Bashir
  • El-Sisi backs Sudan’s military council
CAIRO: The head of Sudan's ruling military council arrived Saturday in Cairo, where he is to meet President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the Egyptian presidency said.

General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan is on his first trip since taking power following the April ouster of president Omar Al-Bashir after months of protests.

His visit comes after Sudanese protest leaders announced a two-day strike from Tuesday, as talks with the military over installing civilian rule remain suspended.

The Alliance for Freedom and Change umbrella movement is at odds with the generals over whether the transitional body to rule Sudan should be headed by a military or civilian figure.

Their negotiations have been on hold since Monday.

Egypt, whose president El-Sisi currently chairs the African Union, has voiced backing for Sudan's military council.

Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said Sisi had received Burhan at the capital's Ittihadia Palace.

Last month he hosted a summit where African nations urged the regional bloc to allow Khartoum "more time" for a handover to civilian rule.

Protest leaders were set to hold meetings with demonstrators at a sit-in outside the army headquarters in Khartoum on Saturday to discuss how to resolve the deadlock.

On Friday they said their strike at "public and private institutions and companies", accompanied by civil disobedience, was "an act of peaceful resistance with which we have been forced to proceed".

Thousands of protesters remain at the sit-in to demand the departure of the generals who seized power after ousting Al-Bashir.
Protest leaders have also called for people to march Sunday from residential areas of Khartoum towards the sit-in.

Several rounds of talks have so far failed to finalise the makeup of the new ruling body, although the two sides have agreed it will hold power for a transitional period of three years.

Al-Burhan thanked Gulf states — including Saudi Arabia and the UAE — and Egypt for their support during the current tumultuous times.

 

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Russia signs military deal with Sudan
May 26, 2019



Russia has signed a military and technology cooperation agreement with Sudan, a country that has been under western sanctions for more than 20 years.

The document, which was signed by Russia on 8 May and Sudan on 9 May, came into force on Friday. Its text was published on Russia’s official legal information portal.

As part of the agreement, Russia and Sudan will collaborate in the training of soldiers and engineers, in military education, field medicine, the study of military history, topography and hydrography, and of sport and culture.

Russian military ships will be allowed to enter Sudan’s ports. Furthermore, military aircraft are expected to visit by invitation, as well as teams of specialists for joint military projects and military training activities.

“The parties undertake not to forward to a third party without prior written consent any information obtained or jointly created as part of the implementation of the current agreement,” the document reads.

The agreement is valid for seven years, and will be automatically extended for subsequent seven-year periods until one of the parties gives the other written notice of termination.

At the start of the year, the Russian government announced its plans to sign an agreement with Sudan that would make it easier for the countries’ military vessels to dock at each other’s ports.

At the same time, Al-Hadi Adam, head of Sudan’s parliamentary defense committee, announced that Russia could be establishing a full-fledged military base in the country. Adam told RIA Novosti that this would serve as the start of the strategic partnership between the two countries, and give Sudan access to “the latest Russian technology”. In December 2018, Sudan commissioned several Russian companies to build an oil refinery with a capacity of 220,000 barrels per day in Port Sudan on the Red Sea.

All of these agreements were made before Sudan was hit by a wave of mass protests against the government’s decision to triple the price of bread and cut back subsidies. In April 2019, President Omar al-Bashir, who had ruled the country since 1989, was arrested by the military. In May, he confessed to corruption and money laundering.



 

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Egypt Hopes Sudan Rapprochement Would Break Deadlock in Renaissance Dam Talks
Monday, 27 May, 2019


Egyptians wait for a ferry to cross the Nile river in the island of Warraq in the Egyptian capital Cairo on March 12, 2019. (AFP)

Cairo - Mohammed Abdo Hasanein

Egypt has been hoping that the rapprochement with the new authority in Sudan would help break the deadlock in the negotiations between Cairo and Addis Ababa on the Renaissance Dam.

Last Saturday, head of Sudan's ruling military council General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan visited Cairo and asserted his rejection to build relations with states harming Egypt or Gulf countries.

Dr. Hani Raslan, an expert on Sudan at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday that Burhan’s statements reveal the Sudanese military council’s foreign policy.

“Sudan’s decision not to harm Egypt also includes talks on the Renaissance Dam, which has caused differences between the three concerned parties,” said Raslan.

The project on the Nile has caused problems with Cairo, which fears the dam will restrict the river’s waters coming down from Ethiopia's highlands, through the deserts of Sudan, to Egyptian fields and reservoirs.

The planned 6,000-megawatt dam is the centerpiece of Ethiopia's bid to become Africa's biggest power exporter.

Ethiopia’s leaders insist the dam will not impact Egypt and Sudan.

Last April, Egypt announced that a Cairo ministerial meeting on negotiations has been postponed, following the toppling of the Sudanese regime.

“There is no agreement yet on a new date for resuming the meetings,” Mohammed Al-Sibai, the spokesman for Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Raslan, too, did not expect the negotiations between the concerned parties to take a different course. Sudan is busy with its internal problems, and the country’s foreign policy is currently not a priority for the ruling military council, the expert said.

“However, the rapprochement between Sudan and Egypt would have a positive impact,” Raslan said.

 

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Sudan's Umma Party Rejects Strike Call
Sunday, 26 May, 2019


Sudanese protesters in the capital Khartoum. Reuters photo

Asharq Al-Awsat

A leading Sudanese opposition party refused on Sunday a call by protest leaders for a two-day general strike, in a sign of divisions within the movement that is challenging military rule in Sudan.

The opposition Umma Party, which is led by Sadiq al-Mahdi, said it rejects the "preparations and timing" of the strike.

The party is a member of the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, an umbrella group representing protesters and opposition parties in the negotiations with the ruling military council.

The FDFC said the nationwide strike would begin Tuesday. Protest leaders are hoping to force the military, which ousted President Omar al-Bashir from power in April, to transfer power to a civilian-led authority.

Despite ending al-Bashir's 30-year rule, protesters have remained in the streets demanding a "limited military representation" in a sovereign council.

Meanwhile the military wants to lead the body during an agreed-upon three-year transition.


 

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Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Underscores to Burhan UAE’s Support to Sudan
Monday, 27 May, 2019


Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan receives the head of the Sudanese military council. (WAM)

Asharq Al-Awsat

The United Arab Emirates will back Sudan as it passes through current circumstances and transformations to achieve peaceful political transition, said Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as he received head of the ruling Sudanese Transitional Military Council Abdel Fattah Burhan in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed stressed that the UAE will stand with Sudan in its efforts to preserve its security and stability, fulfill aspirations of the brotherly Sudanese people for development and progress and to realize a peaceful political transition under national reconciliation and unity.

He said he was confident of the Sudanese people's ability and their national institutions to overcome this stage and move towards the future with a united national spirit, the UAE news agency (WAM) quoted him as saying.

The UAE will spare no effort to do whatever is good for the brotherly people of Sudan, he vowed.

“Dialogue is important in this critical moment in Sudan. With dialogue, it will reach national reconciliation, realize its aspirations, strengthen its stability and usher in a new prosperous chapter,” he remarked.

Highlighting the deep-rooted fraternal ties between the UAE and Sudan, Sheikh Mohamed said the UAE is always at the forefront to provide support to the Sudanese people.

For his part, Burhan expressed gratitude to the UAE for its supportive stances towards Sudan, especially its financial assistance to Sudan's economy.

Prior to traveling to the UAE, Burhan had paid a visit to Cairo where he held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Burhan stressed to Sisi that Khartoum rejects any relations with a country that would harm the interests of Egypt and the Gulf states.

He also stressed that Sudan will remain a part of the Saudi-led Arab coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen and has no intention to withdraw from it.

 

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Nile neighbors’ relations return to normal
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
May 27, 2019


Sudan’s hostility toward Egypt, which lasted more than 20 years, has finally ended. During these years, Cairo and Khartoum were estranged and differences dominated their relations, with each capital being an axis against the other.

The visit of Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s ruling interim military council, to Cairo is an important political development toward positive arrangements that will restore the desired regional equation. Sudan under Omar Al-Bashir was aligned with Qatar, Iran and Libya’s militias, although it took part in the war in Yemen under arrangements that secured Khartoum and Bashir an additional regional role. As for Egypt, Bashir’s rule witnessed the worst relations between the two countries since independence. Bashir and the “Islamic nationalist” Muslim Brotherhood movement made Khartoum a rival to Damascus as the capital of extremist organizations, and Cairo was suspicious of Sudan’s role in the terrorist attacks that hit Egypt in multiple waves.

The removal of Bashir thanks to an overwhelming popular desire has changed the regional equation. Al-Burhan’s visit to Cairo reinforced the expectations of changing the removed president’s policy and it was preceded by many meaningful signs, including the refusal to receive the foreign minister of Qatar and receive the Bahraini foreign minister instead; and, more importantly, Al-Burhan's own statement that Sudan will not adopt hostile policies toward its neighbors.

The steps taken by Sudan’s ruling interim military council seem to indicate that it wants to get rid of Bashir’s political legacy and put an end to its intense animosity. These steps include international and national reconciliations, the most recent of which was the return of Yasir Arman, who was accused of serious charges when he decided to run for president.

The steps taken by the head of Sudan’s ruling interim military council seem to indicate that it wants to get rid of Bashir’s political legacy
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
The arrangements of Sudan’s internal affairs may take longer due to the difficult legacy of the previous regime, as well as the multiplicity of forces and different orientations. The external affairs seem to have been determined by the Sudanese leadership through several messages, most notably Al-Burhan’s visit to Cairo and his statements that have ended two decades of bad relations between the two neighbors, which were reflected in the poor relationships on the border, water, security and political files. In addition, the visit of Al-Burhan’s deputy, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, to Jeddah has stressed the new policy of Sudan and the continuation of its membership of the military alliance in Yemen.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Sudan are the mainstays of the Red Sea security system. Attempts were made to establish the system last year but the main obstacle to its implementation was the lack of confidence in the Bashir regime, which had already concluded a hostile agreement granting the island of Suakin to Turkey as a military base. A Turkish military presence in the waters of the Red Sea has no justification whatsoever, unless it is directed against Egypt and Saudi Arabia. With the removal of Bashir, it seems that Turkey will not be able to harness the island as a military base against the Red Sea states. Among the first steps announced early after the fall of Bashir’s regime was a review of the administration of ports that Bashir gave to hostile regional governments. These ports were believed to have been used for suspicious non-civilian purposes.

The interests of Sudan as a large country have come from the framework laid down by the former regime, which was based primarily on the policies of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood. Moreover, no one expects Sudan to engage in another cycle of chaos. The ultimate goal is for Sudan to devote itself to internal development and benefit from its relations with its neighbors, as the interim military council has done since the middle of last month, with the support of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to stabilize the Sudanese pound and fuel prices. It is in the interests of Sudan for the Red Sea to be a region free of war and enmity, including Somalia and Yemen.

  • Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is a veteran columnist. He is the former general manager of Al Arabiya news channel, and former editor in chief of Asharq Al-Awsat.Twitter: @aalrashed

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point-of-view

 

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Sudan opposition pushes ahead with two-day strike from Tuesday
May 28, 2019

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan’s alliance of opposition and protest groups said on Monday that it would push ahead with a general two-day strike starting on Tuesday, in an escalation of tensions with the ruling transitional military council over the move to democracy.

Talks between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance are at a standstill after weeks of negotiations over who will have the upper hand after the ouster of long-time president Omar al-Bashir last month, civilians or the military.

Wagdy Saleh, a representative of a coalition within the DFCF, told a news conference called by the alliance that the TMC had demanded a two-thirds majority, of eight to three, on the sovereign council that will lead the country.

The deputy head of the TMC, Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, said earlier on Monday that the council was ready to hand over power swiftly, but said the opposition was not being serious about sharing power and wanted to confine the military to a ceremonial role.

“By God, their slogans cheated us. I swear we were honest with them 100%,” Hemedti said at a dinner with police. “That’s why, by God Almighty, we will not hand this country except to safe hands.”

Hemedti said the military council respects many members of the opposition movement, including Sadiq al-Mahdi, Sudan’s last democratically elected prime minister, who was overthrown by Bashir.

Mahdi, who heads the Umma Party that is part of the alliance, rejected the strike on Sunday.

However, his son, Al-Sadeeq Sadiq al-Mahdi, told Al Arabiya TV after Hemedti’s remarks: “Our stated position is not a rejection of the principle of strike, but our logic is that there is no need to escalate now.”

The TMC has suggested that if an agreement cannot be reached between the two sides, elections should be held.

“We are not saying we will not negotiate,” Hemedti said. “But we have to guarantee that all the Sudanese people are participating in the matter.”

“We do not cheat, nor do we want power,” Hemedti said, adding that elections could be held in as little as three months in order to “...choose a government from the Sudanese people.”

Mubarak Ardol, who represents the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, said at the news conference that it was essential to have an accurate and transparent census before elections can be held because millions of Sudanese remain displaced or refugees and would therefore be excluded.
“Elections cannot be held in the current situation,” Ardol said.

The DFCF said Tuesday’s strike would encompass public and private enterprise, including the civil aviation, railway, petroleum, banking, communications and health sectors.

If an agreement is not reached with the TMC, the DFCF will escalate by calling for an open strike and indefinite civil disobedience until power is handed to civilians, Saleh said.

The military ousted and detained Bashir on April 11, ending his 30-year rule after 16 weeks of street protests against him spearheaded by the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, part of the DFCF.

Hemedti said on Monday: “These people’s goal is for us to hand over to them and return to our barracks.”

Reporting by Hesham Hajlai; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

 

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Sudan Opposition Relaunches Strike as Deadlock With Military Persists
Tuesday, 28 May, 2019


Sudanese protesters have remained camped outside the military headquarters in Khartoum pressing for the military to hand over to civilian rule | AFP

Khartoum- Asharq Al-Awsat

Hundreds of passengers at Khartoum airport and the Sudanese capital's main bus terminal were stranded Tuesday as protesters began a two-day national strike to pile pressure on the military to hand power to a civilian administration.

Leaders of an umbrella protest movement remain at loggerheads with army generals, who seized power after ousting president Omar al-Bashir last month, over who should lead a new governing body -- a civilian or a soldier.

The new governing body is expected to install a transitional civilian government, which in turn would prepare for the first post-Bashir elections after a three-year interim period.

In a bid to step up pressure on the ruling military council, the Alliance for Freedom and Change protest movement has called for a two-day general strike starting on Tuesday.

Hundreds of passengers were stranded at Khartoum airport as scores of employees at the facility went on strike, chanting "civilian rule, civilian rule," an AFP correspondent there said.

Many employees carried banners or wore badges that read "We are on strike".

Sudanese airlines Badr, Tarco, and Nova suspended flights on Tuesday, although some international flights were still scheduled.

Passengers were also stranded at Khartoum's main bus terminal as hundreds of employees observed the strike.

Many carried banners reading: "Today, tomorrow no buses as we are on strike".

"I have to travel to Gadaref to be with my family for Eid, but I'm not angry as I understand the reason for the strike," traveler Fatima Omar said as she waited with her children at the bus terminal.

Protest leader Siddiq Farukh told AFP that the strike was a message to the world that Sudanese people "don't want the power to be with the military".

Another prominent protester, Wajdi Saleh, told reporters late Monday that there was "still no breakthrough" in negotiations but the protest movement was ready to negotiate if the generals offered fresh talks.

"We hope that we reach an agreement with the military council and won't have to go on an indefinite strike," he said.

Protest leaders had said medics, lawyers, prosecutors, employees in the electricity and water sectors, public transport, railways, telecommunication, and civil aviation were set to take part in the strike.

They said actions in the telecoms and aviation sectors would not affect operations.

But the protest movement's plan has been dealt a blow after a key member, the National Umma Party, said it opposed the plan as there had been no unanimous decision for a strike.

Umma and its chief Sadiq al-Mahdi have for decades been the main opponents of Bashir's iron-fisted rule, and threw their weight behind the protest movement after nationwide demonstrations erupted in December.

Mahdi's elected government was toppled by Bashir in a coup in 1989.

Protester Hazar Mustafa said a civilian government was the only solution to Sudan's problems.

"We see the military council as part of the former regime. We don't see it upholding any rights and building a just state," she said.

The army ousted Bashir in April after months of protests against his autocratic rule, including a sit-in by tens of thousands of protesters outside Khartoum's military headquarters.

But the generals, backed by key regional powers, have resisted calls from protesters and Western governments to hand over power to civilians.

Thousands of protesters remain camped outside army headquarters, demanding the generals step down.

Before suspending talks last week, protesters and the generals had agreed on several key issues, including the three-year transition and the creation of a 300-member parliament, with two-thirds of lawmakers coming from the protesters' umbrella group.

But negotiations stalled as protest leaders insisted a civilian must head the new sovereign council, with civilians making up the majority of its members -- proposals rejected by the military.


 

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Hemedti: We Will Only Transfer Sudan to Safe Hands
Tuesday, 28 May, 2019


Deputy head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. (Reuters)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Sudan’s alliance of opposition and protest groups said on Monday that it would push ahead with a general two-day strike starting on Tuesday hours after the Transitional Military Council said it was ready to hand over power swiftly.

Deputy head of the TMC, Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, commonly known as “Hemedti”, added however that the opposition was not being serious about sharing power and wanted to confine the military to a ceremonial role.

“By God, their slogans cheated us. I swear we were honest with them 100 percent,” Hemedti said at a dinner with police. “That’s why, by God Almighty, we will not hand this country except to safe hands.”

Talks between the TMC and the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance are at a standstill after weeks of negotiations over who will have the upper hand after the ouster of long-time President Omar al-Bashir last month, civilians or the military.

Wagdy Saleh, a representative of a coalition within the DFCF, told a news conference called by the alliance that the TMC had demanded a two-thirds majority, of eight to three, on the sovereign council that will lead the country.

Hemedti said the military council respects many members of the opposition movement, including Sadiq al-Mahdi, who heads the Umma Party that is part of the alliance.

Mahdi rejected the strike on Sunday.

However, his son, Al-Sadeeq Sadiq al-Mahdi, told Al Arabiya TV after Hemedti’s remarks: “Our stated position is not a rejection of the principle of strike, but our logic is that there is no need to escalate now.”

The TMC has suggested that if an agreement cannot be reached between the two sides, elections should be held.

“We are not saying we will not negotiate,” Hemedti said. “But we have to guarantee that all the Sudanese people are participating in the matter.”

“We do not cheat, nor do we want power,” Hemedti said, adding that elections could be held in as little as three months in order to “...choose a government from the Sudanese people.”

Mubarak Ardol, who represents the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, said at the news conference that it was essential to have an accurate and transparent census before elections can be held because millions of Sudanese remain displaced or refugees and would therefore be excluded.

“Elections cannot be held in the current situation,” Ardol said.

The DFCF said Tuesday’s strike would encompass public and private enterprise, including the civil aviation, railway, petroleum, banking, communications and health sectors.

If an agreement is not reached with the TMC, the DFCF will escalate by calling for an open strike and indefinite civil disobedience until power is handed to civilians, Saleh said.

The military ousted and detained Bashir on April 11, ending his 30-year rule after 16 weeks of street protests against him spearheaded by the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, part of the DFCF.

Hemedti said on Monday: “These people’s goal is for us to hand over to them and return to our barracks.”


 

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Sudan protesters begin 2-day strike to press ruling military
Updated 13 sec ago
AP
May 28, 2019
  • Protesters remained in the streets, demanding the military hand over power
  • After the military ousted Al-Bashir army generals took over the country
KHARTOUM: Sudan’s protest leaders have launched a two-day general strike to press the ruling military to hand over power to a civilian-led authority.

Wajdi Saleh, a negotiator for the protesters, says they resorted to holding the strike after negotiations with the military council became deadlocked over the makeup and leadership of a sovereign council that would run the country in a three-year transition period.

The Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which spearheaded the protests that led the army to oust President Omar Al-Bashir last month, urged people to show up at work on Tuesday and Wednesday but abstain from any activity.

After the military ousted Al-Bashir, who ruled for 30 years, army generals took over the country. But the protesters remained in the streets, demanding the military hand over power.



 

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Sudan's opposition observes first day of strike, military says communication not suspended
May 29, 2019 / Updated 2 hours ago

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan’s alliance of opposition and protest groups held a general strike on Tuesday as tensions mounted with the country’s military rulers over the transition to democracy.

Dozens of Sudanese crowded outside their workplaces, including banks and hospitals, in the capital Khartoum while holding signs and chanting.

“As companies, we provide services to citizens. We have announced our apologies for not providing these services today and tomorrow, in support of the revolution, in support of freedom, and in support of justice,” said Mohamed El-Tayeb, a private-sector worker.

Most staff in the medical sector, electricity offices and at the central bank as well as commercial banks observed the strike but other sectors were only partially affected.

“We study the developments that have taken place in (other countries). That is why we have demands, that is why our martyr brothers have given so much,” said Abdallah Othman, a worker at an aviation company. “That is why we have been subjected to arrests, some of whom are our colleagues here at the company. We have to fulfill our demands and achieve civilian rule.”


Talks between the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance are at a standstill despite weeks of negotiations over whether civilians or the military will have the upper hand in a sovereign body to lead the country during a three-year transition to democracy.

Discussions are continuing at a lower level to try to work toward an agreement and there will be no backing down from what has already been agreed, TMC spokesman General Shams El Din Kabbashi told Al Hadath TV on Tuesday.

The DFCF had said an initial two-day strike would encompass public and private enterprise, including the civil aviation, railway, petroleum, banking, communications and health sectors.

If an agreement was not reached with the TMC, the DFCF said it would escalate by calling for an open strike and indefinite civil disobedience until power is handed to civilians.

The TMC’s deputy head, Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who is known by his nickname Hemedti, repeated on Tuesday that the council was ready to hand over power swiftly.

“If we find trust, we would hand over power tonight before tomorrow,” he said.

Many shops remained open while buses were still transporting residents, a Reuters witness said. The airport in Khartoum was operating normally, a civil aviation authority source and state news agency SUNA said.

Reporting by Ali Abdelatty and Hesham Hajali in Cairo; Writing by Lena Masri and Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Ed Osmond and Jonathan Oatis

 

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Banks shuttered as Sudan opposition stages second day of strikes
May 29, 2019

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Banks in the Sudanese capital Khartoum came to a virtual standstill on Wednesday as protest and opposition groups organized a second day of strikes to pressure military rulers to cede power to civilians.


Several banks visited by a Reuters reporter were fully closed, and cash machines had not been restocked for several days. Employees at the central bank were also on strike.

“We are committed to the strike in order to achieve peaceful rule,” said an employee of the Blue Nile Mashreg Bank in Khartoum. “And we are ready to participate in civil disobedience if the Freedom and Change Forces ask us to.”

The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance had called for a two-day strike from Tuesday for public and private enterprises.


The action comes during a lull in talks between the ruling military council that forced out ex-President Omar al-Bashir last month and an alliance of protest and opposition groups. The two sides are deadlocked over who will control a political transition, though discussions continue at a lower level.

Protesters have kept up a sit-in outside the Defense Ministry since before Bashir was ousted.

Participation in the strike has been partial, with buses and most air transport still operating. Shops including clothes and shoe retailers where people buy gifts ahead of Eid al-Fitr, the holiday ending the holy month of Ramadan next week, were open.

But the strike has been widespread in the financial sector, already struggling from an economic crisis that led to shortages of fuel and cash and helped trigger 16 weeks of mass protests against Bashir’s rule.


It was also being widely followed in the medical and power sectors, while port services were restricted to passenger ships for pilgrims, according to media and social media reports.

If no agreement is reached with the Transitional Military Council (TMC), the DFCF has said it will escalate by calling for an open strike and indefinite civil disobedience until power is handed to civilians.

Reporting by Khartoum bureau; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Catherine Evans


 

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