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Sudan: Al-Burhan denies Russian involvement in gold exploration

A Ariab worker watches a belt carrying earth at a gold mine in the Sudanese desert, 800 kms northeast of the capital Khartoum, on October 3, 2011. Sudan's Mining Minister Abdelbaqi al-Jaylani said Sudan will earn $4 billion from mine exports this year, helping to prop up its ailing economy after it lost most of its oil resources to the south. Ariab is Sudan's largest gold producer, owning the 25,000-square-kilometre Hassai concession that has been producing for 20 years but where production levels have fallen from five tonnes per year in 2003 to just 2.3 tonnes this year. AFP PHOTO/ASHRAF SHAZLY (Photo credit should read ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP via Getty Images)
A Ariab worker watches a belt carrying earth at a gold mine in the Sudanese desert, 800 kms northeast of the capital Khartoum, on October 3, 2011 [ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP via Getty Images]

The head of Sudan's nominal Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, has denied the involvement of Russia's Wagner Group in gold exploration in the country, local media reported on Monday. Al-Burhan made his remarks in an interview with Al Hurra TV broadcast on Saturday.

A recent report in the New York Times claimed that the Wagner Group is working in Sudan. "There is no presence of this company [Wagner] or other outlawed organisations in the country," insisted Al-Burhan.

With regard to the political crisis in the country, Al-Burhan stated that the council is working for no purpose other than to restore the democratic path, and to break the domination of a certain faction over the Sudanese people. "Warnings about the danger of a civil war must be heard and understood by those who reject negotiation and dialogue… There are groups that refrain from dialogue and do not care about the future of the country or the citizens."

Sudan has witnessed protests since last October. Protesters reject the measures taken by Al-Burhan, most notably the imposition of a state of emergency and the dissolution of the Sovereignty Council and the transitional government. He has banned the use of force against protesters. "The security forces have clear instructions not to attack anyone who wants to express his opinion by peaceful means," he pointed out.

A direct dialogue process was launched on 8 June between the Sudanese parties in Khartoum, but the Declaration of Freedom and Change, the Association of Professionals, the Resistance Committees and the Communist Party have refused to participate.

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