Home Politics Sudan holds talks to halt strikes

Sudan holds talks to halt strikes

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According to an Ethiopian mediator, military and protest leaders have agreed to continue with their talks soon, while on the other hand, an opposition alliance also agreed to call off its campaign of civil disobedience and strikes.

Special envoy Mahmoud Dirir has indicated that the army which has been in control since its successful ousting of long-time President Omar al-Bashir in April has agreed to set free political prisoners.

This announcement comes in the wake of recent violent protests in Sudan, where dozens of people were killed during a sit-in on June 3.

Since June 3, the opposition called for an open-ended strike which has lead much of the country to be been shut down including businesses and shops, while soldiers have been patrolling the streets since the violent protests started. Meanwhile the pro-democracy protestors have called for the return of a civilian government in the country.

On Tuesday, an Ethiopian mediator between the two sides said talks on restoring a civilian administration would begin soon.

The opposition Alliance for Freedom and Change released a statement encouraging people to return to work on Wednesday.

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which initially called for the protest action supported the idea of a temporary suspension of the protests and urged people to return to work for the time being.

The call for people to temporarily suspend the protests saw some shops and services already starting to re-open, this was mostly among small businesses and daily wage earners who could not afford to remain closed.

Military leaders still have to formally confirm and agree to return to talks.

But Salah Abdelkhalek, a member of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) said that these leaders might agree to “equal” power sharing with the opposition.

However, he said the TMC was adamant that the head of the new council should be from the military.

Abdelkhalek said that some military officers who had been responsible for the 3 June clampdown, including; hundreds of soldiers and officers, had been arrested, they also supported the idea of an international inquiry into the violence.

But he added the TMC was willing to negotiate without preconditions.

On Tuesday, the top US diplomat for Africa announced a trip to Sudan to urge both sides to resume talks.

News of the return to talks followed the intervention of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who met both sides to try and break the impasse.

There are reports that claim that Ahmen proposed a 15-member ruling council for the transitional period, made up of eight civilians and seven military officials during his meeting with the two opposition sides.

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