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Saudi-Emirati delegation visits Sudan in support of military council

April 17, 2019 at 1:47 pm

Head of the Military Transitional Council of Sudan, Awad ibn Auf holds a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan on 12 April 2019 [Anadolu Agency]

A Saudi-Emirati delegation has arrived in Sudan to express support for the country’s Transitional Military Council, as world leaders announce their stance on the military coup that ousted President Omar Al-Bashir last week.

Council President Lieutenant General Abdul Fattah Burhan welcomed the Gulf delegation in Khartoum, with the state news agency reporting that the ministers conveyed “the greetings of the leaders of the two countries and their readiness to support it and its people at the important historic stage.”

Burhan hailed Sudan’s “special relationship” with the two Arab states, with Saudi officials reportedly offering to supply emergency basic commodities such as food and petrol.

On Monday, Burhan had received separate phone calls from Arab and African leaders, including Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Chad’s President Idris Deby.

Yesterday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was also quoted as endorsing the new military authorities in Sudan.

“Moscow recognises and is in touch with representatives of the Transitional Military Council,” he said.

However the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, held off expressing support for the army, instead calling for a swift handover of power to civilian government and said Europe would not recognise the transitional military council.

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Speaking at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Mogherini hailed the four-month long public protests in Sudan as a cry for freedom, peace and justice. Stressing her support for the Sudanese public, she warned of a descent into further turmoil.

“To prevent such scenario, there has to be a swift handover to a civilian transitional government, with real decision-making authority,” she said. “This would open the way for a peaceful, credible and inclusive political process – to finally address the Sudanese people’s demand for political and economic reforms.”

Mogherini pointed to the demand of the African Union, who called on the military council to hand over power within two weeks or face suspension from the group.

“Just like our African brothers and sisters, we want the transition to be managed by civilians. So we fully support the African Union’s demand and position on this issue, as on many others,” she concluded.

The military’s council continued support from regional neighbours is seen by many as a negative development following last week’s coup. Fears remain that the military will simply facilitate a change of face of the country’s leadership, rather than initiate democratic reforms.

Protests against military rule are continuing across the country; a days-long sit in outside the Defence Ministry is ongoing with protesters chanting “Freedom, freedom” and “Revolution, revolution”. Some also held banners rejecting the involvement of foreign nations, specifying the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

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