Sudan military to resume talks with protesters

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Shams-Eddin Kabashi, Sudan's Transitional Military Council (TMC) spokesman, speaks at a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan, May 7, 2019. Xinhua/Mohamed Khidir

KHARTOUM (AFP) – Talks between Sudan’s military council and protesters are set to resume, army rulers said Saturday, as hundreds of supporters of Islamic movements rallied for the inclusion of sharia in the country’s political roadmap.

The ruling military council announced that “negotiations with the Alliance for Freedom and Change” over the planned transfer of power to a new governing body would resume on Sunday.

The announcement follows pressure from key world powers for the military and the protesters’ umbrella group to get back to the table, after talks on the composition of the new governing body failed to take place as planned on Wednesday.

Talks have stalled repeatedly, as the protesters have pressed the military council hard to hand over power to civilian rule since autocratic president Omar al-Bashir was deposed on April 11.

Representatives from the United States, the United Nations, African Union and European powers called for “an agreement ASAP on an interim government that is truly civilian-led and reflects the will of the Sudanese people,” Tibor Nagy, the US assistant secretary of state for Africa, tweeted on Friday.

Protesters have met a key demand of military council head General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in the last couple of days, dismantling roadblocks that had paralysed parts of the capital.

The generals have allowed protesters to maintain their sit-in outside Khartoum’s army headquarters, where thousands remain camped out to demand a rapid transition to democracy.

Before suspending talks this week the two sides agreed on several key issues, including a three-year transition period and the creation of a 300-member parliament, with two thirds of lawmakers to come from the protesters’ umbrella group.

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