Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

The United Nations envoy says consultations with Sudanese civil society groups will begin on Monday.

The United Nations mission in Sudan said consultations would begin Monday with the goal of launching direct negotiations to resolve the country’s political crisis following a coup in October.

The military takeover derailed a transition to elections in which the military agreed to share power with civilian groups following the overthrow of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir in a 2019 uprising.

It also halted an economic opening in which Sudan began to emerge from decades of isolation and sanctions. Security forces suppressed regular mass protests since the coup left more than 60 civilians death and many more injured.

The initial talks, which will begin later Monday, will involve broad individual consultations aimed at moving to a second phase of direct or indirect negotiations between different role players, UN Special Representative Volker Perthes told a news conference on Monday. said in Khartoum.

“We want to move fast… We start this afternoon with the first group from civil society. “Every day we will have a mix of stakeholders that we talk to,” he said.

It will be difficult to set a time frame for the start of negotiations, Perthes added. “Time is precious, we know that. There is a lot of pressure on the situation in Sudan and on us. “

Unless a new course of action and a path to credible elections are found, Sudan’s economic plight could worsen and instability could spread within and beyond its borders, analysts and diplomats say.

“I hope these consultations can become something like a trust-building measure and will help at least reduce the violence,” Perthes said.

The UN envoy said there was “no objection” from the military institutions. But the initial reaction of key civic factions was lukewarm.

“We have not yet received any details about the UN initiative,” said Jaafar Hassan, a spokesman for the mainstream faction of the Forces for Freedom and Change, the leading civic pro-democracy group.

“We are prepared to take part in the talks, provided that the aim is to resume the democratic transition and remove the coup d’etat, but we are opposed to these talks attempting to legitimize the coup regime,” he said. told the AFP news agency. Monday.

The Sudanese Professional Association, another major civic faction, said on Sunday that it had completely rejected the UN-facilitated talks.

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