Published: Sat, May 18, 2019

Sudan army ruler says talks with protesters suspended

Sudan army ruler says talks with protesters suspended

But at a joint press conference on Wednesday, representatives from both the ruling Transitional Military Council and an alliance of protest groups declared that they expected to sign a final deal "within 24 hours".

Discussions between the two sides that started on Monday to determine the makeup of the transitional body have been overshadowed by violence.

However, the protests continued, calling for a transition of power to the civilian authorities.

"They asked us to dismantle barricades in parts of the capital", said Rashid al Sayid, a spokesman for the Alliance for Freedom and Change.

General Yasser Al Atta, one of the members of the current ruling military council, had vowed earlier this week to reach a deal by Thursday that "meets the people's aspirations".

The first six months of the transition would be devoted to reaching peace accords with rebels in war zones including Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

During the first two days of talks, the two sides had agreed on an overall civilian structure, including a three-year transitional period for the full transfer of power to a civilian administration.

Mass protests in Sudan continue to call for civilian rule following last month's military coup.

After the forming of the sovereign council, which will replace the existing ruling body made up exclusively of generals, a new transitional civilian government would be formed to run the country's day-to-day affairs.

The opposition alliance, known as the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF), said in response: "The suspension of negotiations is regrettable...and ignores the reality of the revolutionaries who are increasingly angry as a result of the bloodshed and the souls that we lost".

On Tuesday, the United States blamed the army itself for the deaths.

The military junta that deposed Omar al-Bashir said the alliance would have two thirds of the seats on a legislative council.

However, the council reportedly pledged it would not use force to disperse the protesters.

Protest leader Yousef downplayed the role of the proposed ruling council, insisting Sudan would have a powerful cabinet.

On the defence and interior ministries would be headed by military figures, he said.

Al-Burhan set conditions for resuming the negotiation, including removing the barricades put by protesters outside their sit-in area, opening the railway line and stopping media escalation as well as harassment against regular forces.

The issue has kept thousands of protesters camped outside army headquarters around the clock ever since Bashir's overthrow.

The British ambassador to Khartoum said Sudanese security forces had fired at protesters.

Early on Wednesday the military named a committee to investigate targeting protesters after at least four people were killed in Khartoum on Monday.

"Protect your homeland or prepare to die!" the protesters chanted.

Protesters said the army aimed to provoke demonstrators.

"They are playing the game of dividing the people in order to control the situation".

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