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Sudan army rulers, protesters resume civil rule talks

Sudanese protesters block passage on Nile Street during a demonstration in central Khartoum on May 12, 2019. – Sudan’s army rulers and protesters are to hold fresh talks over handing power to a civilian administration on May 13, a spokesman for the protest movement told AFP, after the Alliance for Freedom and Change — an umbrella for the protest movement — said the generals had invited it for a new round of talks after several days of deadlock. (Photo by ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP)

Sudan’s army rulers and protest leaders resumed crucial talks Monday over handing power to a civilian administration after days of deadlock in negotiations, a spokesperson for the protest movement told AFP.

Protest leaders Omar al-Digeir and Satea al-Haj were among those attending the talks on behalf of the Alliance for Freedom and Change umbrella movement, the group’s spokeswoman Mashar Darraj said.

The meeting was being held behind closed doors at a convention centre in central Khartoum, an AFP correspondent reported from the venue.

The latest round of talks, which have hit snags on several key issues, comes as thousands of protesters remain camped outside the army headquarters in central Khartoum.

They say they are determined to force the ruling military council to cede power — just as they pushed the army into deposing veteran president Omar al-Bashir on April 11.

The protest alliance said Saturday the generals had invited the movement for a new round of talks.

The army generals and protesters are at loggerheads over who will sit on a new ruling body that would replace the existing military council.

The generals have proposed that the new council be military-led, while the protest leaders want a majority civilian body.

Late last month, the alliance — which brings together protest organisers, opposition parties and rebel groups — handed the generals its proposals for a civilian-led transitional government.

But the generals have pointed to what they call “many reservations” over the alliance’s roadmap.

They have singled out its silence on the constitutional position of Islamic sharia law, which was the guiding principle of all legislation under Bashir’s rule but is anathema to secular groups like the Sudanese Communist Party and some rebel factions in the alliance.

The alliance has said it wants to “sort out all these points in 72 hours” once the talks resume.

Protesters meanwhile remained camped outside the army headquarters in the capital, demanding that the generals step down.

Crowds have dwindled during the day due to the scorching heat, but protesters still gather in the thousands after breaking the fast in the evening for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

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