Saudi Arabia, UAE back Sudanese military council moves

by Garry Watts April 15, 2019, 1:03
Saudi Arabia, UAE back Sudanese military council moves

Organizers of the protests in Sudan that forced longtime President Omar al-Bashir from office held a second day of talks Sunday with the ruling military council after urging the military to "immediately and unconditionally" hand power to a transitional civilian government that would rule for four years.

An alliance of opposition parties and activists have vowed to continue protesting until the military council now in power heeds their demands. Instead it announced the appointment of a new intelligence chief.

The new head of Sudan's military council said on Saturday a civilian government would be formed after consultations with the opposition and promised the transition period would last for a maximum of two years.

While the delegation has faced some criticism from protesters for a perceived softening of their demands, negotiations between the delegation and the military council are set to continue.

Mr Ibn Auf quit a day after becoming military council chief.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, which has spearheaded the protests, also posted a nine-point list of demands earlier Sunday, including prosecution of those behind the Islamist-backed military coup in 1989, dissolution of all pro-government unions, a freeze on the assets of top officials in al-Bashir's government and dismissal of all top judges and prosecutors.

"We consider (the) taking of power by the military council as violating the constitution's legitimacy", the NCP said in a statement.

As he stepped down late Friday, Ibn Auf said he was seeking "to keep the solidarity of the security system, especially the armed forces".

He also lifted a night curfew imposed by his predecessor and ordered the release of prisoners jailed under the emergency law for protests against al-Bashir.

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Tens of thousands of people have massed non-stop outside the army headquarters since April 6, initially to urge the military to back their demand that Bashir be removed.

Celebrations erupted on the streets of Khartoum overnight following Ibn Auf's resignation.

Himeidti heads Sudan's controversial counter-insurgency unit - the Rapid Support Force (RSF) - which rights groups have accused of abuses in the war-torn Darfur region.

The military council agreed to respect new freedoms for political activists and the media after a Saturday meeting with the Forces of the Freedom and Change Declaration, an alliance of the main protest groups, one of their representatives, Omar el-Digair, told reporters.

He praised Sudan's large protest movement, saying, "We applaud this revolutionary discipline and awareness and ask them to come together to enforce the slogans of the revolution, "Freedom, Peace, Justice".

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation described the development as a "step forward reflecting the ambitions of the brotherly people of Sudan towards security, stability and development".

"The UAE reaffirms its support for the steps taken by Sudan's transitional military council to protect people and property, wishing these steps would ensure security and stability for the sisterly country".

"The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques gave instructions to the concerned authorities in the Kingdom to provide a package of humanitarian aid, including petroleum products, wheat and medicines", SPA said.

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