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Sudan’s military council cancels talks with protesters, calls for elections in 20202 minutes read

Army says the election would take place under “regional and international supervision”

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Sudan's military council cancels talks with protesters, calls for elections in 2020
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan Abdulrahman, chief of Sudan's ruling military council. (Photo by - / Sudan TV / AFP)

Sudan’s army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said Tuesday the country’s military rulers had decided to cancel what they had previously agreed with protesters about the country’s transition and called for elections within nine months.

It came a day after Sudan’s military forcefully broke up a weeks-long sit-in outside Khartoum’s army headquarters calling on the country’s ruling generals to hand over to civilian rule, leaving more than 30 dead. 

“The Military council decides on the following: cancelling what was agreed on and stopping negotiating with the Alliance for Freedom and Change, and to call for general elections within a period not exceeding nine months,” Burhan said in a statement broadcast on state television early on Tuesday.

Burhan added the election would take place under “regional and international supervision”.

The Transitional Military Council ousted president Omar al-Bashir in April after months of protests against his authoritarian rule. 

It had agreed a three-year transition period for transferring power to a civilian administration and that parliament be composed of 300 members for the transition, with around two-thirds from the protest alliance and the rest drawn from other political groups before talks broke down on May 20.

Thousands of people remained camped outside the military headquarters calling for the generals to cede power before security forces used force to break up the sit-in, leaving some 30 people dead and hundreds wounded, according to doctors close to the protesters.

It drew sharp international criticism, with both the US and the UN condemning the breaking up of the sit-in.

The UN Security Council will meet behind closed doors on Tuesday to discuss Sudan, after Britain and Germany requested the talks, diplomats said.

The Alliance for Freedom and Change had announced “the end of all political contact and negotiations with the putschist Council” following the deaths.

Burhan said that the military council would order an investigation into it.

“The military council promises an investigation into today’s events and invites the general prosecutor to take that over,” he said in the address.

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Health

Tunisia to reopen borders, airspace on June 27

Tunisian Prime Minister, Elyes Fakhfakh also said Tunisian nationals abroad will be repatriated from June 4.

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Tunisia's new Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh speaks during the government handover ceremony in Carthage on the eastern outskirts of the capital Tunis on February 28, 2020. (Photo by FETHI BELAID / AFP)

Tunisian Prime Minister, Elyes Fakhfakh has announced that the country will reopen its land, air and sea borders from June 27.

He also said Tunisian nationals abroad will be repatriated from June 4.

Fakhfakh made the announcement after a meeting with the national commission to combat coronavirus on Monday.

Tunisia has reported 1,084 confirmed coronavirus cases so far, a Xinxua news agency report said.

The North African country has received support from various countries including China.

On April 16, China donated a batch of medical aid to Tunisia’s Ministry of National Defense, including facemasks, test kits and medical protective googles.

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North Africa

Egypt, France plan to end terrorism in Libya

Both countries showed support for international endeavors as well as implementing the results of the Berlin process to end the conflict in Libya.

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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron discussed the matter during a telelphone conversation on Saturday.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have discussed the development of several regional issues, including the situation in Libya.

During a phone call on Saturday, Macron said he is keen to exchange views with Sisi over these issues as Cairo plays a key political role in the region, Egyptian Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement.

For his part, Sisi affirmed Egypt’s firm position towards the Libyan crisis based on restoring Libyan national state institutions, ending the spread of criminal groups and terrorist militias.

He added that Egypt also gives top priority to combating terrorism, achieving stability and security and putting an end to illegal foreign interventions in Libya, a Xinhua news agency report said.

The two presidents agreed to intensify their coordination in the coming period, stressing the necessity to end the Libyan crisis by reaching a political solution that paves the way for the return of security and stability in the country, the spokesman said.

They showed support for international endeavors as well as implementing the results of the Berlin process to end the conflict in Libya.

Libya has been locked in a civil war since the ouster and killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The Libyan conflict escalated in 2014, splitting power between two rival governments, the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in the capital Tripoli and another in the northeastern city of Tobruk allied with self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar.

While Egypt supports Haftar’s LNA that seeks to take over Tripoli, Turkey backs the Tripoli-based GNA. 

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Health

Algeria insists on hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 treatment

WHO said on Monday it had temporarily suspended clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for coronavirus.

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Algeria has disclosed plans to continue the use of hydroxychloroquine in tackling the coronavirus, despite the discouragement by the World Health Organization that has suspended clinical trials of such treatments following a study which showed that the drug caused more harm than good.

“We’ve treated thousands of cases with this medicine, very successfully so far,” said Mohamed Bekkat, a member of the scientific committee on the North African country’s Covid-19 outbreak. 

“We haven’t noted any undesirable reactions,” he said.

Bekkat, who is also head of the Order of Algerian Doctors, said the country had not registered any deaths caused by hydroxychloroquine.

“For confirmed cases, we use hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. Then there is a whole protocol for serious cases,” a health ministry official said on Monday.

Bekkat’s comments came days after medical journal The Lancet published a study of nearly 100,000 coronavirus patients, showing no benefit in those treated with the drug, which is normally used against arthritis.

The study found that administering the medicine or, separately, the related anti-malarial chloroquine, actually increased Covid-19 patients’ risk of dying.

The World Health Organization said on Monday it had temporarily suspended clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for coronavirus, following the Lancet study.

Bekkat argued that the Lancet study had led to “confusion” as it “seems to concern serious cases in which hydroxychloroquine is of no help”.

“There is evidence that the use of chloroquine by some Arab and African countries has proven to be effective when used early,” he explained.  

Public figures including US President Donald Trump have backed the drug as a virus treatment, prompting governments to bulk buy — despite several studies showing it to be ineffective and even increasing COVID-19 hospital deaths.

Algeria’s coronavirus outbreak is one of the worst in Africa, with a total of 8,503 cases and 609 deaths officially recorded since February 25.

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