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Sudan tells UN transition to civilian rule could be shortened

Sudan’s UN envoy said Friday that a two-year transition period to civilian rule announced by the military council that seized power in the country could be shortened as protesters kept up their demands for change.

Addressing the UN Security Council, Sudan’s charge d’affaires Yasir Abdelsalam offered assurances that the military council would support an inclusive civilian-led government.

“The (military) council will be the guarantor of a civilian government to be formed in collaboration with political forces and stakeholders. No party will be excluded,” said Abdelsalam.

“The transitional period could be shortened depending on developments on the ground and agreements between stakeholders,” he told the Security Council.

The military rulers who removed president Omar al-Bashir from office on Thursday have offered dialogue with all political groups on forming a civilian government.

Protesters, who took to the streets months ago to demand an end to Bashir’s rule, have kept up their demonstrations, denouncing an army coup and calling for civilian rule.

The United States has called on Sudan’s army to bring civilians in the government, while Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that a two-year transition “is not the answer.”

“We need to see a swift move to an inclusive, representative, civilian leadership,” Hunt said.

The Sudanese envoy said the military council was committed to leading a peaceful transition to civilian government and responding “to the Sudanese people’s aspiration for change.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for a transition in Sudan that meets the “democratic aspiration” of the Sudanese people.

The Security Council was meeting to discuss the situation in Abyei, a territory disputed by Sudan and South Sudan.

The council will meet later Friday behind closed doors to discuss the dramatic developments in Sudan.

Bashir, who swept to power in a 1989 coup, was one of Africa’s longest-serving presidents. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and war crimes.

In Khartoum, the head of the council’s political committee, Lieutenant General Omar Zain al-Abdin, confirmed that Bashir remained in custody, but said the council will never extradite him.



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