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U.S. urges Sudan’s military council to expedite power transfer to civilians

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U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan addressing the staff of American embassy in Khartoum 16 Nov 2017 (Photo U.S. Embassy Khartoum)
May 8, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan urged Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) to expedite power transfer to a civilian-led interim government, said a statement released Wednesday.

Sullivan who is tasked with the file of normalization with Sudan spoke with the TMC Chairman Lt-Gen Abdel Fattah el-Burhan. The State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus and the official news agency SUNA reported the telephone conversation.

"Deputy Secretary Sullivan encouraged the TMC to reach an agreement with the Forces for Freedom and Change that reflects the will of the Sudanese people," said Ortagus

Further, he reiterated the United States’ expectation that the military rulers who took power a month ago respect the human rights of all persons and encouraged al-Burhan to allow peaceful protest and the freedom of expression.

The military council say they are willing to power handover to a civilian government but they seem more and more inclined to remain in power as they continue to set new conditions for the power transfer to civilian rule.

During the first ten days, they refused to recognize the revolutionary legitimacy of the opposition Freedom and Change forces who led the four-month protests and said they want to include all the political forces, including those who were part of the former regime, in the transitional institutions.

After what they acknowledged the freedom and change forces as their interlocutor to negotiate the handover but said they want to keep taking part in the transitional government in a way to oversee the transitional period and to fix its benchmarks through the full control of the Sovereignty Council.

In a press conference held on Tuesday, the MTC rejected the proposals of the opposition forces defining the powers and attribution of the transitional period institutions because it gives the Sovereignty Council symbolic functions while it reserved the full power to the government.

According to SUNA, al-Barhan told Sullivan that the Council will continue discussions with the political forces on ways to move smoothly towards democracy as soon as possible after the end of the transitional period, which the Council believes should not exceed two years.

"The role of the armed forces is to enhance security and support people’s choices and its peaceful revolution," al-Burhan further said in his discussion with US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan.

After the army takeover of power in Sudan on 11 April, Washington suspended a process to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism and called on the military council to hand over power to civilian rule.

“The Sudanese people have been clear that they have been demanding a civilian-led transition. They should be allowed to do so sooner than two years from now,” said the State Department.

After, the power takeover, the TMC said presidential elections would take place after a two-year period of military rule.

(ST)

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