Crack in opposition as top Sudan group rejects call for strike

Sudanese protesters gather for a sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum on May 19, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 27 May 2019

Crack in opposition as top Sudan group rejects call for strike

  • We reject the general strike announced by some opposition groups, says NUP
  • The NUP led by former premier Sadiq Al-Mahdi said any such decision should be taken by a council of leaders of the protest movement

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s main opposition group and supporter of the protest movement on Sunday rejected its call to stage a two-day general strike in the first sign of a rift within the movement negotiating the launch of civilian rule.

Talks between leaders of the umbrella protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change and army generals who seized power after ousting Omar Al-Bashir last month are deadlocked over who should lead a new governing body -— a civilian or soldier.

In a bid to step up pressure on the generals, the protest movement has called for a general strike starting Tuesday, but the National Umma Party (NUP), a key backer of the movement, rejected the measure.

“We reject the general strike announced by some opposition groups” in the Alliance for Freedom and Change, the NUP said in a statement.

“A general strike is a weapon that should be used after it is agreed upon by everybody,” NUP said.

“We have to avoid such escalated measures that are not fully agreed.”

The NUP led by former premier Sadiq Al-Mahdi said any such decision should be taken by a council of leaders of the protest movement.

Such a council was still not in place and “will be composed in a meeting on Monday,” it said.

FASTFACT

 

Talks between the generals and protest leaders remain deadlocked over who should lead a new governing body to oversee the formation of a civilian administration — a soldier or civilian.

It was Al-Mahdi’s elected government that Bashir, who himself was deposed on April 11, toppled in a coup in 1989.

In a recent interview with AFP, Al-Mahdi warned protesters not to “provoke” the army’s rulers as they had been instrumental in ousting Bashir. Minutes after NUP’s statement, another key member of the protest movement, the Sudanese Congress Party, said the strike will go ahead as planned.

It said the strike was a new measure “to complete the mission of the revolution, which definitely will achieve its victory.”

The military toppled Bashir after months-long protests across Sudan led by the Alliance against his rule of three decades. Thousands of demonstrators remain camped outside the army headquarters in central Khartoum demanding that the generals step down.

Talks between the generals and protest leaders remain deadlocked over who should lead a new governing body to oversee the formation of a civilian administration — a soldier or civilian.

Protest leaders insist a civilian must head a new sovereign council and that civilians should make up the majority of its members, proposals rejected by the ruling generals.

The new ruling body when finalised is expected to install a transitional civilian government for three years after which the first post-Bashir election would be held.

Before suspending talks last Monday, the two sides had agreed on several key issues, including the three-year transition period and the creation of a 300-member parliament, with two thirds of lawmakers coming from the protesters’ umbrella group.


Turkish minister in Libya for defense cooperation talks

Updated 03 July 2020

Turkish minister in Libya for defense cooperation talks

  • Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Chief of General Staff Yasar Guler discussed “military and security cooperation” with the head of the GNA
  • The visit comes a month after GNA forces declared they were back in full control of Tripoli and its suburbs

TRIPOLI: Turkey’s defense minister and military chief visited war-torn Libya’s capital on Friday, the country’s Government of National Accord (GNA) said, the second visit in weeks by a minister from its main international backer.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Chief of General Staff Yasar Guler discussed “military and security cooperation” with the head of the GNA Fayez Al-Sarraj and military officials, the government said.
The visit comes a month after GNA forces declared they were back in full control of Tripoli and its suburbs following a year-long offensive by eastern military strongman Khalifa Haftar to seize the capital.
On June 17, Turkeys’ foreign and finance ministers Mevlut Cavusoglu and Berat Albayrak, along with intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, visited Tripoli for talks with Sarraj.
Friday’s talks covered defense and security training programs under a deal signed by Tripoli and Ankara in November last year, a statement said.
“Turkish support for (the GNA) continues in the areas of military and security cooperation,” said GNA deputy defense minister Salah Namrush.
Libya has been torn apart by bloodshed since the NATO-backed uprising which toppled the regime of longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi, with two rival administrations now vying for power and control of the country’s vast oil wealth.