AU sets deadline for Sudan power transfer

The African Union (AU) has warned Sudan’s military that the country has 15 days to install a civilian government or risk getting kicked out of the bloc, as a sit-in demanding the army hand over power entered its 11th day on Tuesday.

Sudan must aim to hold “free, fair and transparent elections” as soon as possible, the AU’s Peace and Security Council said in a statement on Monday.

“A military-led transition would be completely contrary to the aspirations of the people of Sudan,” it added.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Monday became the first foreign leader to meet with members of Sudan’s ruling military council and pledged his support for the neighbouring country.

“The Transitional Military Council has met many demands of the protesters, but some of the demands of the protesters need time to answer,” said General Jalal Eldin Alshaik, a member of the council, after the meeting.

He also vowed that the sit-in would not be dispersed from outside the army’s headquarters and appeared to change the council’s position on former president Omar al-Bashir’s extradition to The Hague.

“The decision whether to extradite al-Bashir to the [International Criminal Court] will be made by a popularly elected government and not the transitional military council,” he said at a press conference in Addis Ababa.

The council had previously said al-Bashir – who was arrested after Thursday’s military coup – would not be extradited to face charges of war crimes in Darfur.

Fearing that the core of the old establishment is far from gone, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) on Monday reiterated its call for the military council to be dissolved and substituted with a civilian one that would only include “limited” army representation.

The umbrella organisation, which spearheaded the months of protests that precipitated al-Bashir’s removal, also demanded the sacking of Sudan’s prosecutor general and judiciary head, as well as the disbanding of the former president’s National Congress Party (NCP).

“The objectives of the revolution cannot be achieved totally and completely in the face of the backstage manipulations by the remnants of the regime,” SPA member Taha Osman told reporters in the capital, Khartoum.

“The key demand is the formation of a civil council to guarantee that the revolution is safeguarded and all the goals are achieved.” –Aljazeera

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