Talks between Sudan's military council, opposition postponed to Sunday: AU envoy

Clay Curtis
July 16, 2019

On Saturday, protesters held rallies in several cities and towns across the country, including in Khartoum, to mark 40 days of mourning since forces killed more than 100 people when dispersing a sit-in outside the country's military headquarters.

Sudanese protesters shout slogans as they march during a demonstration against the military council, in Khartoum, Sudan on June 30, 2019.

The June 3 raid had come after talks between protest leaders and military generals, who seized power after the army ousted longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in April, collapsed over who should head a new governing body - a civilian or soldier.

"This is an attempt to block the agreement which has been reached by the Transitional Military Council and the Alliance for Freedom and Change that aims to open the road for Sudanese people to achieve their demands", Omar added.

Ethiopian mediator Mahmoud Dirir told reporters that the political declaration will be "debated on, discussed and signed at the same time". Military and civilian officials will take turns leading the council.

Tarek Abdel Meguid, an FDFC leader, voiced skepticism about the military's announcement of a failed coup, calling it a hoax meant to pressure pro-democracy forces into signing the deal.

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African Union envoy Mohammed el-Hassan Labat originally said a meeting would take place Saturday night.

In the capital Khartoum, negotiators are haggling over the draft of a final constitutional declaration that is to organize a transition period to free elections and civilian rule.

On June 10, the TMC ordered Internet blackout across the country as a security measure after a violent crackdown at a sit-in protest camp in Khartoum triggered an extensive popular backlash earlier that week.

Several hundred also demonstrated in Khartoum's Burri neighbourhood, a working-class district and the cradle of numerous protests. Last month dozens of protestors were killed after forces aligned to the military broke a longstanding camping in front of the compound of the armed forces. Thousands also turned out in Wad Madani, capital of Jazeera state, while others protested in Port Sudan, capital of Red Sea state, and Al-Ubayyid, capital of North Kordofan.

The agreement stipulates that the new governing body will be presided over by a military nominee for the first 21 months, and by a civilian for the last 18 months.

The protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, had called for marches across the country on Saturday to mark the 40th day of mourning since the raid that trigged an global outrage.

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