Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 August 2019

Sudan: US names special envoy to work towards peaceful solution

Shops and restaurants began to reopen after this week's civil strike was called off and there was a breakthrough in the negotiation standoff

US special envoy to Sudan Donald Booth. AFP
US special envoy to Sudan Donald Booth. AFP

The United States has named a special envoy to Sudan to help move towards a "peaceful political solution" as protesters have agreed to new talks with the ruling military council.

Shops and restaurants began to reopen after this week's civil strike was called off and there was a breakthrough in the standoff between the civilian protest movement and the military rulers who toppled veteran leader Omar Al Bashir.

It follows mediation led by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Washington nominated experienced Africa hand Donald Booth as a special envoy to Sudan to help broker a solution to the ongoing disagreement over the formation of a new democratic system of governance, AFP reported.

He previously served as special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan and was already in the capital Khartoum to discuss the ongoing situation with the involved parties.

On Tuesday, the protest leaders and the ruling military council agreed to resume talks and an end to a three-day civil disobedience campaign.

It marked a significant de-escalation from last week, when relations between the civilian protest movement and the military turned violent.

Paramilitary forces linked to the current junta governing Sudan, the Transitionary Military Council, opened fire on protesters in what they said was an attempt to clear the main protest site of "criminal elements".

At least 117 people were killed and more than 500 injured in the violence, according to a doctors group that is part of the protest movement. The country's health ministry said the number was lower.

Protest leader Madani Abbas Madani told reporters on Wednesday that any agreement reached with generals "must have regional and international guarantees".

US officials are expected to hold several meetings with generals and protest leaders, as well as visit Addis Ababa later to discuss the crisis with Ethiopian leaders and the African Union.

The African Union suspended Sudan's membership on Thursday.

Negotiations collapsed last month because the two sides disagreed about whether a civilian or soldier should head a new governing body.

Updated: June 13, 2019 12:42 PM

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