Sudan Deal Under Discussion, Agreement Needed in Days Not Weeks – UN Envoy

The United Nations’ special envoy for Sudan revealed that talks had yielded a potential deal on a return to power-sharing, including the restoration of the ousted premier, but it would have to be reached “in days, not weeks” before positions harden.

Since Oct. 25, the United Nations has coordinated efforts to find a way out of the country’s crisis following a coup by the military in which top civilian political figures were detained and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was placed under house arrest.

He also said that a potential deal could include the return of Hamdok to office, the release of detainees, the lifting of the state of emergency, the adjustment of certain institutions and a technocratic government.

In a sign that international pressure is increasing, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke to Sudan’s General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Thursday, urging the restoration of constitutional order and the transition process.

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According to Perthes, special representative of Guterres and head of the UN Integrated Transition Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), time is of the essence.

The longer you wait for implementation, the more difficult it is to get buy-in from the public and from the political establishment and to implement the agreement, Perthes said.

“It will also become more difficult for the military, as pressures to appoint some government, whatever its credibility, will increase. And the positions of both sides would harden. We are speaking of days, not of weeks,” he said. “Now the question is, are both sides willing to commit to that. Here we still have at least a few hiccups.”

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The Sudanese state television reported on Thursday evening that Burhan had ordered the release of four cabinet ministers arrested as part of the coup.

Burhan has stated he acted last week to avert civil war after civilian politicians stoked hostility toward the armed forces. According to him, he is committed to a civilian democratic transition and elections in July 2023.

The neighbourhood resistance committees, which have been leading protests since the coup and held demonstrations on Thursday, reject negotiations and are calling for the military to cease political involvement.

Perthes said the talks were effectively the “last chance” for the military to come to a negotiated agreement, adding that there appeared to be internal discussions within the military about whether they should take advantage of it.

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On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joined the United States and Britain in calling for the restoration of the civilian-led government.

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