UN envoy: Sudan’s new deal saved the country from civil war
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UN envoy to Sudan says deal reached to reinstate the country’s civilian prime minister after military coup is flawed but saved the country from civil war
Volker Perthes was speaking about the deal between Sudanese military leaders and Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, which was deposed and under house arrest following last month’s coup that sparked international outcry.
The military takeover threatened to thwart the democratic transition process the country had embarked on since the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.
The deal, signed on Sunday, was seen as the biggest concession made by the country’s top military leader, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, since the coup. However, pro-democracy groups across the country dismissed him as illegitimate and accused Hamdok of allowing himself to serve as a fig leaf to maintain military rule.
“The deal is of course not perfect,” Perthes told The Associated Press. “But it’s better than not having an agreement and continuing on a path where the army is ultimately the only leader.”
The two signatories felt compelled to make “bitter concessions” in order to spare the country the risk of further violence, chaos and international isolation, he added.
“It would not have been possible to rule out a scenario that would have brought Sudan to something akin to what we have seen in Yemen, Libya or Syria,” Perthes said. He spoke to the PA by video conference from Khartoum.
Sudan has grappled with its transition to democratic government since al-Bashir’s military overthrow in 2019, following a mass uprising against three decades of his rule.
The agreement also stipulates that all political detainees arrested in the wake of the October 25 coup must be released. So far, several ministers and politicians have been released. The number of people still detained remains unknown.
“We now have a situation where we have at least an important step towards restoring constitutional order,” Perthes said.
Since the takeover, protesters have taken to the streets several times in some of the biggest protests in recent years. Sudanese security forces have cracked down on rallies and have killed more than 40 protesters so far, activist groups say.
Further steps must be taken to prove the viability of the deal, Perthes said, including the release of all detainees, an end to the use of violence against protesters and Hamdok’s full freedom to choose members. of his cabinet.
Thousands of people gathered in Khartoum and several Sudanese provinces on Thursday to demand an all-civilian government and protest the deal. Activists had posted videos on social networks showing tear gas canisters fired at demonstrators.
However, Sudanese police said protesters threw Molotov cocktails and stones at two police stations in the capital Khartoum and its sister city of Omdurman, injuring more than 30 police officers. In a statement released Thursday evening, authorities said they had arrested 15 people.
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