6 June 2019

Sudan: AU Peace and Security Council Suspends Membership of Sudan

Addis Ababa — Today, the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) decided to suspend, with immediate effect, the participation of Sudan in all AU activities until the effective establishment of a civilian-led government.

A civilian-led authority is the only way to allow Sudan to exit from its current crisis, the AUPSC states in the communiqué of its 854th meeting held today on the situation in Sudan.

The Council expresses its deep concern over the lack of progress, since the military coup of 11 April, towards the establishment of "a civilian-led Transitional Authority".

It strongly condemns the recent violence that led to the loss of lives and injuries among civilians, and requests an investigation by the AU commission "into the deadly events which took place from 3 June 2019 in Sudan".

All concerned in the country should "exert maximum restraint and refrain from any move that could ignite the already highly volatile situation in Sudan and to give primacy to the supreme interest of the people of Sudan".

The Council further "underscores, once more, the fact that the Sudanese stakeholders are the sole authors of their destiny at this critical juncture in the history of their Country; In this context, stresses that there should be no external interference by whomsoever in the process of resolving the current crisis".

The AUPSC rejects the unilateral actions taken by the Transitional Military Council (TMC), "notably the suspension of dialogue with other Sudanese stakeholders", and demands the "immediate resumption of negotiations, without pre-conditions, between all Sudanese stakeholders towards the establishment of a civilian-led Transitional Authority, in full compliance with the decisions of this Council".

"In line with the relevant AU instruments, in particular the AU Constitutive Act, the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union

and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance," the AUPSC decided "to suspend, with immediate effect, the participation of the Republic of Sudan in all AU activities until the effective establishment of a civilian-led Transitional Authority, as the only way to allow the Sudan to exit from its current crisis".

Should the TMC fail to hand-over power to a civilian-led Transitional Authority, the Council will, "without any further delay, automatically impose punitive measures on individuals and entities obstructing the establishment of the civilian-led Transitional Authority".

Civilian authority

The TMC seized power on April 11 by means of a coup, overthrowing the 30-year regime of President Omar Al Bashir, who himself seized power in a coup in 1989.

In an initial reaction on 15 April, the AUPSC denounced the coup d'état, and gave the TMC 15 days to relinquish power to a civilian interim government, on pain of possible suspension of Sudan's AU membership. 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 subsequent meeting in Tunis on May 1, the AUPSC decided on "a final extension of 60 days".

On May 13, the TMC and the Alliance of Freedom and Change, the driving force behind the Sudanese uprising leaders, 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 would be composed of 300 members. The AFC would be represented by 67 percent. The rest of the seats would be drawn from other political parties.

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

Two days later, however, the TMC suspended dialogue with the opposition, saying it would only return to the negotiating table if the protesters would remove roadblocks near the sit-in in Khartoum.

Yet, on Monday, two days before the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, large numbers of paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, backed by security troops, violently broke up the sit-in in Khartoum and similar vigils in a number of state capitals. The AU Commission immediately stated it deplored the deadly dispersal of the Khartoum sit-in.

The attacks on the sit-ins in Khartoum and other Sudanese cities were launched shortly after members of the TMC visited Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, and Egypt to secure support for their standpoints. Observers say the three countries prefer a strong military rule over a civilian-led democratic government.

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