International mediation is underway to resolve the political crisis in Khartoum.
Sudan’s coup leader and army chief Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan met with Qatar’s Ambassador to Khartoum Abdulrahman bin Ali Al-Kubaisi on Monday as anti-coup protests continued to take place in the North African country.
According to Sudan’s News Agency [SUNA], now run by the ruling military, Burhan stressed the “Sudanese leadership’s keenness on strengthening Qatar and Sudan’s ties to serve the interests of the people of both countries”.
The coup leader claimed Sudanese armed forces are keen on “protecting the revolution” and its gains, noting arrangements to announce the new government are moving in “a positive manner”.
Al-Kubaisi told the press that Qatar is closely following developments in Sudan while stressing the Gulf state’s support for the choices and aspirations of the people.
The meeting comes a week after Burhan “relieved” the Sudanese ambassador to Qatar and five others from their duties, including the US, EU, China, France and the head of its mission to Geneva.
Last week, Burhan launched a military coup that saw the detention of civilian members of Sudan’s ruling body, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who refused to support the putsch.
Since then, pro-democracy demonstrators have taken to the streets across the capital but have been met with excessive violence by Sudanese troops. So far, at least 15 protesters have been killed.
Burhan has also cut off internet access as violence continues to engulf the country.
Qatar is among a list of countries that have rejected the latest power grab in Sudan, “calling on all parties not to escalate, contain the situation, allow for the voice of reason to prevail, and work in the interests of the brotherly Sudanese people to achieve stability, justice, and peace”.
Resolution in ‘coming days’
UN Special Envoy for Sudan Volker Perthes told reporters on Monday that national and international mediation efforts to resolve the country’s political crisis are expected to be announced in coming days.
Virtually speaking to New York reporters from Sudan, Perthes said the UN is supporting mediation efforts and proposing initiatives in order to find a way out of the crisis.
“It is bigger packages that are being put up for negotiation and they hope that within the next couple of days … the contours of a package would become visible,” he said.
“A way out should be found,” he urged.
While Perthes said he was unable to speak about the demands, he told reporters that negotiations could only be held between “people who are at liberty”, referring to detained officials.
Meanwhile, Sudan’s Ministry of Information representing civilian authorities said Hamdok has called for the release of all detainees and the resumption of his cabinet’s operations as the solution to the crisis.
In earlier remarks on Sunday, Perthes said the ousted prime minister was “at his residence where he remains well but under house arrest”.
In a power-sharing proposal presented by politicians, Hamdok would be given full executive powers while appointing a cabinet of technocrats.
Under the compromise, political parties, rebel groups, the military, and partners in the pre-coup government would be represented in parliament. The military would also continue to head a Security and Defence Council.
The latest developments came ahead of a scheduled power transfer to the civilian Sovereign Council, which the military viewed as a threat to its position in the country.
Since the overthrow of former President Omar Al-Bashir, who was toppled after a country-wide revolution in 2019, several coup attempts have taken place in the country, though none have been successful.
Last month, Sudan was struck with yet another coup that was quickly suppressed by authorities. Some military officers and civilians accused of links to the previous President Al-Bashir regime attempted to overthrow the transitional government in Sudan.
Shortly after, Sudanese authorities said the situation was under control, and around 21 officers and a number of other soldiers were detained for interrogation.
Sudan has been grappling with a fragile path to democratic rule since the military’s overthrow of Bashir, with the joint civilian and military government struggling to control a dire economic and political situation in the country.