Sudanese Professionals, Military Junta Brief Western Diplomats

Sudanese professionals, military junta brief western diplomats

Khartoum — A delegation from the Sudanese Profesionals Association (SPA) met with representatives of the European Union's diplomatic missions in Sudan on Thursday. Members of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) briefed western diplomats about their position.

The SPA, the driving force behind the Sudan uprising and leading member of the AFC, said in a statement on Thursday that the meeting reviewed the political process and the negotiations between the TMC and the Alliance of Freedom and Change (AFC) so far, and actions taken by military "to disrupt the handover of power to civilians".

The Association rejected the justification put forward by the junta to postpone the negotiations. It attributed the suspension to the desire of the military "to shirk its obligations to hand over power to civilians and delay the implementation of the basic agreement between TMC and the AFC".

Suspended

On Wednesday evening, the TMC suspended dialogue with the opposition until the removal of the barricades from the main roads in Khartoum.

In a statement aired on Sudan TV, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, head of the military junta announced the suspension of negotiations for 72 hours, saying "the revolution has derailed from its peaceful path following escalation on the ground during the last hours".

El Burhan described the blockage of streets that led to traffic jams and the obstruction of trains and transport of supplies to the states, as unjustified acts.

He noted that "to prevent the country from sliding into uncontrollable insecurity the negotiation was suspended for 72 hours until an appropriate climate is created for completion of the agreement, the removal of barricades set up outside the sit-in area, and the opening of railways for trains transporting supplies to the states".

Briefings

On Thursday, the spokesman for the TMC, Lt Gen Shamseldin Kabbashi, and the chairman of the TMC Security Committee, Mustafa Mohamed met with ambassadors of the EU, the USA and Canada, and the UN Resident Representative in Khartoum.

TMC Spokesman Lt Gen Shamseldin Kabbashi briefed the diplomats about the political and security developments in the country, the director of the Department of European and American Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press statement.

The head of the Security Committee explained that "groups not belonging to the regular forces" were responsible for attacks on protesters at the Khartoum sit-in on Monday and Wednesday - in which four protesters and an army captain were killed, and dozens of others injured.

The attacks came after protesters blocked Nile Street on Sunday, a main road in Khartoum, which the military junta deemed "totally unacceptable".

The two TMC leaders also held similar meetings with Asian and African ambassadors and with Arab diplomats on Thursday.

Talks

Negotiations between the AFC and the TMC resumed on Monday. The parties agreed on a three-year transitional period for the transfer of power to an entirely civilian administration, after which general elections will be held.

The interim parliament will be composed of 300 members. The AFC (a coalition of the SPA, a number of opposition parties and civil society groups) will be represented by 67 percent. The rest of the seats will be drawn from other political parties.

Peace talks with rebel movements in Darfur and the Two Areas (Blue Nile and South Kordofan states) are to be prioritised during the first six months of the transitional government.

The composition of the new leadership council however is a major obstacle for the talks. The TMC want it to be military-led, while the AFC insists on a civilian cabinet.

The AU, EU and USA have called on the TMC to transfer power to civilians, while Sudan's Arab allies, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt support the military junta.

A meeting of AU leaders in Cairo on April 23 recommended allowing the junta three months to relinquish power to civilian authority, however at a meeting in Tunis on April 30, the PSC decided on "an additional period of 60 days".

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