Ethiopian/AU mediation needs to be unified – Sudan military council

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Sudan’s ruling military council said Ethiopia and the African Union needed to unify efforts to mediate between the council and an opposition coalition on the structure of the country’s transitional government.

The generals and the opposition coalition have been wrangling for weeks over what form Sudan’s transitional government should take after the military deposed long-time president Omar al-Bashir on April 11.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the African Union (AU) are trying to mediate between the sides.

Council spokesman, Lieutenant General Shams El Din Kabbashi, said the council rejected Ethiopia’s proposal, which the opposition coalition agreed to and had agreed in principle to the AU plan.

“The African Union initiative came first,” said Kabbashi, adding the council had not studied the Ethiopian initiative, which he described as unilateral.

A draft of the Ethiopian proposal seen by Reuters suggested a ruling sovereign council of seven civilians and seven military members, with an additional seat for an impartial individual.

Details of the AU proposal were not immediately known.

“We asked mediators to unite efforts and submit a joint paper as soon as possible to return the parties to negotiations,” Kabbashi said at a news conference at the presidential palace.

NO “DICTATES”

Yasser al-Atta, a member of the military council, said: “The president of the military council clarified that he gave mediators until tomorrow to present the joint vision.”

“We do not accept dictates from any country,” Atta added. “Saudi Arabia and the UAE have not and will not dictate political or economic conditions.”

The two oil-rich Gulf countries pledged $3 billion in financial and material support to Sudan in late April.

Talks between the ruling generals and the Forces for Freedom and Change coalition collapsed when security forces stormed a protest sit-in outside the Defence Ministry on June 3, killing dozens.

The military said a crackdown on criminals spilled over to the sit-in area. Some officers were detained for presumed responsibility.

The makeup of the sovereign council was the main outstanding point between the two sides before talks collapsed. The military council cancelled all agreements reached after the sit-in’s disperal.

“The reality has changed and calls to bring other political forces, together with the Forces for Freedom and Change, into government,” Atta said.

Separately, Atta said the military council had not yet been notified of a court ruling a lawyer said was issued on Sunday ordering telecoms operator Zain Sudan to restore internet services. Internet access was restricted since security forces broke up the protest sit-in.