UN to launch talks in Sudan to end crisis after coup

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The United Nations said on Saturday it would begin talks to help Sudan end the crisis following a military coup that blocked the transition to civilian rule.

“It is time to end the violence and embark on a constructive process,” UN Special Envoy Volker Perthes said in a statement, announcing talks to bring together “all major civilian and military actors” .

Sudan has been rocked by pro-democracy protests and a deadly crackdown on security forces since General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan launched the October 25 military takeover that dismantled a fragile power-sharing deal between soldiers and civilians.

The arrangement was put in place following the ouster in April 2019 of autocratic President Omar al-Bashir, also after months of street protests against his iron-fisted regime.

At least 60 people have been killed since the coup in weeks of protests, according to the Sudanese Central Medical Committee, which is part of the pro-democracy movement.

“The (democratic) transition has seen major setbacks which have deeply affected the country since the military coup,” Perthes said.

“The subsequent and repeated violence against largely peaceful protesters has only deepened mistrust among all political parties in Sudan,” he added.

The UN-facilitated talks aim to “help Sudanese stakeholders agree on a way out of the current political crisis and (…) a sustainable path to democracy and peace,” Perthes said.

It was not immediately clear when the talks would start, but Perthes said he was “deeply concerned that the current political stalemate could plunge the country further into instability,” the statement said. .

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

The UN Security Council is scheduled to hold an informal session on Wednesday to discuss the latest developments in Sudan.

Last week, Sudanese civilian Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok resigned, leaving the military in full control of the country.

Hamdok had been under house arrest for weeks after the coup, before being reinstated in a deal on November 21 after international pressure.

But the pro-democracy protest movement denounced the deal as a “betrayal”, saying it provided Burhan with a coat of legitimacy.

Announcing his resignation last Sunday, Hamdok said Sudan was at a “dangerous crossroads threatening its very survival”.

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