UN launches Sudanese talks push to end post-coup crisis

The United Nations said on Saturday it would invite Sudanese military leaders, political parties and other groups to take part in discussions aimed at ending a crisis unleashed by a coup in October.

UN mediation in the weeks after the coup succeeded in reinstating Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, but his resignation last week deepened uncertainty around Sudan’s political future and a transition towards elections scheduled for 2023.

Protests have rocked Sudan since General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan launched the Oct. 25 military takeover.

At least 60 protesters have been killed in recent weeks, according to the Sudan Doctors Committee, which is part of the pro-democracy movement.

“It is time to end the violence and enter into a constructive process,” UN special envoy Volker Perthes said in a statement.

Perthes said the process would bring together “all key civilian and military stakeholders.”

“Armed movements, political parties, civil society, women’s groups and resistance committees will be invited to participate in the UN-facilitated political process,” he added.

The [democratic] transition has faced major setbacks that have deeply impacted the country since the military coup.

“The subsequent and repeated violence against largely peaceful demonstrators has only served to deepen the mistrust among all political parties in Sudan,” said Perthes.

The UN Security Council is due to hold a meeting next week to discuss the situation in the country.

The coup dismantled a fragile power-sharing agreement between the military and civilians.

The 2019 deal was sealed after mass street protests deposed autocratic President Omar al-Bashir.

In November, the ousted civilian head of government, Abdallah Hamdok, was reinstated according to a deal with the military.

Still, demonstrations continued against the military’s involvement in the government, accusing Hamdok of “treason” for working with the military.

Hamdok resigned last week, citing his failure to keep his promise to prevent a political catastrophe.

Thousands of protesters continue to take to the streets to call for the military to return power to civilians.

Security forces have often responded to the protests with violence, leaving dozens dead and hundreds injured. (Reuters/NAN)