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Western nations urge swift Sudan accord to install civilian rule

By AFP - May 22,2019 - Last updated at May 22,2019

KHARTOUM — The United States, Britain and Norway called for a swift agreement between Sudanese protesters and generals on installing civilian rule, saying it would be harder for them to work with any other new authority.

Talks between protest leaders and army generals who seized power after ousting longtime leader Omar Al Bashir last month have stopped since late Monday following disagreement about who should lead a new ruling body — a civilian or a soldier.

The Western troika, which has previously been involved in mediation in Sudanese conflicts, said the country "urgently needs an agreement" to end the period of uncertainty, according to a joint statement released late Tuesday.

"Any outcome that does not result in the formation of a government that is civilian-led, placing primary authority for governing with civilians, will not respond to the clearly expressed will of the Sudanese people for a transition to civilian rule," it said.

"This will complicate international engagement, and make it harder for our countries to work with the new authorities and support Sudan's economic development," added the statement, which was posted on the Facebook page of the US embassy in Khartoum.

Washington has consistently called for civilian rule in Sudan since Bashir was ousted by the army on April 11 after months of nationwide protests against his iron-fisted regime of 30 years.

It has also suspended talks with Khartoum for removing Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, a key factor which for decades has made foreign businesses wary of investing in the northeast African country.

Sudanese protest leaders are now preparing plans to call for a general strike to build pressure on the generals to cede power.

The ruling military council has been pushing for its chairman Gen. Abdel Fattah Al Burhan to head the new sovereign body but protest leaders want a civilian.

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.

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