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Sudan’s military council suspends talks over power handover for 72 hours

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Transitional Military Council leader, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (SUNA photo)
May 16, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan Thursday announced the suspension of negotiations with the opposition coalition of the freedom and change forces for 72 hours, saying that the revolution deviated from its peaceful path.

The suspension came after an attack on peaceful protesters by the armed force allegedly belonging to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) wounding 14 people, three of them in critical conditions.

The attack was the second in 24 hours. About 8 demonstrators were killed on Tuesday night and at least 100 were wounded during an attack carried out by infiltrators according to the military council.

In a statement broadcast on official Sudanese television during the first hours of Thursday, al-Burhan said that negotiations with the opposition forces have reached an agreement to stop the popular escalation and to form joint committees to protect the main protest site located outside the army headquarters.

"Nevertheless, things have evolved progressively, as the forces of freedom and change issued a timetable for escalation in conjunction with the negotiation, besides direct provocation and insults directed against the armed forces and rapid support forces."

Al-Burhan further pointed to what he said were unjustified closure of roads, resulting in traffic suffocation, the suspension of trains and the disruption of supplies to the other states.

"The hostile rhetoric created a state of general chaos and lawlessness also armed elements infiltrated to the protest site and around it targeting the armed forces and the protesters. All these (developments) led to the disappearance of the peaceful revolution," he further said.

Accordingly and in order to prevent the country’s slide toward an uncontrollable security situation, it was decided to "stop negotiations for 72 hours until an appropriate climate was established to complete the agreement, removing the barricades outside the sit-in and opening the railway to supply the states," he stated.

The suspension may derail the power transfer process and open the door for further political complications in the country as it extends the duration of tensions and creates space for the anti-revolutionary element to carry out more troubles in the country.

The head of the military leader did not stop on the responsibility for the attacks on sit-inners but obviously reflected the fears of the military council that power transfer to civilians would anger the militias of the former regime and their media which continue to operate without any security consideration for their negative impact or role against the revolution, as it was underlined by the opposition leaders.

The freedom and change forces until late during the night said they had not been officially notified of the suspension of talks but only the Council’s secretariat informed their members in the joint coordination committee that the talks have been suspended.

Some observers close to the file of negotiations pointed that the agreement reached on Tuesday was rejected by some members of the military council who insisted that the sovereignty council should entirely be composed of the army officers.

(ST)

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