U.S., Britain, Norway Urge Sudan Military to Cede Power to Civilians

Lieutenant General Omar Zain al-Abdin, the head of the new Sudanese military council's political committee, addresses a press conference on April 12, 2019 in the capital Khartoum, one day after Sudan's army ousted the Arab-African country's veteran president Omar al-Bashir. - Sudan's military council pledgeed talks with 'all political entities' …
ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty

(UPI) — The United States, Britain and Norway urged the transitional military council in Sudan to hand over the power of the country to civil rule while warning it against committing violence against peaceful protesters.

The statement comes almost a week since the Sudanese military deposed President Omar al-Bashir, who had held power for 30 years, on April 11 following months of peaceful protests that brought the country to a standstill.

In the joint statement Sunday, the three countries said despite the ousting of al-Bashir, the “legitimate change that the Sundanese people are demanding has not been achieved.”

“It is vital that the authorities listen to the calls from the Sudanese people,” the countries said in the statement. “Most pressingly, the continuing peaceful protests must not be met with violence from any quarter. Sudan needs an orderly transition to civilian rule leading to elections in a reasonable time frame.”

The statement comes a day after the transitional military council was formed and said it would take more than two years for a civil government to be established.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese Professionals Association, which planned the massive protests including a seven-day sit-in outside of military headquarters in the capital, has said it will not cease protesting until power is transitioned to civil society.

On Monday, the group said in a statement on its Facebook page that protests will persist until there is the creation of a sovereign council, a mini transitional legislative council and a civil transitional government that can exercise wide executive powers.

“These structures represent the transitional civil authority completely liberated from all the symbols of corruption,” it said in the statement.

The countries said that it is time for the transitional military council to engage in dialogue with all parties of civil society to begin the handing over of the country.

This dialogue needs to be done “credibly and swiftly,” it said, adding that Sudan needs a political system that is inclusive and respectful of human rights and the rule of law.

“We urge Sudan’s new leadership to take the steps necessary to build domestic and international support to help resolve Sudan’s many pressing challenges,” it said.

Also on Sunday, the military council said it had arrested members of the former government and vowed to leave protests alone while stating that the former ruling National Congress party would be barred from participating in the interim government.

At a press conference Sunday, military council spokesman Shams al-Din Kabashi confirmed that the National Congress Party would be banned from participating in transitional government and that measures were also underway to arrest more leaders of the previous regime, the Sudan Tribune reported

He also said high-profile activists have been released as have army personnel who participated in the protests.

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