KHARTOUM: Sudan’s coup leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said on Monday the army would make way for a civilian government and would "not participate" in national talks facilitated by the UN and regional blocs.
The decision was taken "to make room for political and revolutionary forces and other national factions" to form a civilian government, he said, months after the October coup ousted civilians from a transitional administration.
Widespread international condemnation and aid cuts followed the putsch, the latest in the impoverished northeast African country. Burhan’s televised announcement surprised anti-coup demonstrators, hundreds of whom were on the fifth day of sit-in protests after last Thursday saw the deadliest violence so far this year.
Pro-democracy medics said nine demonstrators lost their lives, bringing to 114 the number killed in the crackdown against anti-coup protesters since October. Tens of thousands had taken to the streets on Thursday, almost matching numbers at the peak of demonstrations after the coup. Although near-weekly rallies have continued, they appeared to decline in intensity before reigniting last week with the same demand: an end to military rule.
"The armed forces will not stand in the way" of democratic transition, Burhan said in his address, affirming the military’s commitment to working towards "elections in which the Sudanese people choose who will govern them."
In the weeks following the coup, the military and civilian leaders had promised general elections in July 2023. Sudan’s main civilian players had boycotted the talks with military leaders launched under international auspices last month in an effort to restore the transition. The United Nations, the African Union and regional bloc IGAD facilitated the dialogue.