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African union denounces 'dishonest' Sudan talks

African union denounces 'dishonest' Sudan talks
People chant slogans during a protest to denounce the October 2021 military coup,   -  
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Marwan Ali/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


The African Union has said it will not be a party to talks that exclude significant actors in an effort to get Sudan's transition back on track after last year's military coup.

Sudan's main civilian players have so far boycotted talks with military leaders launched under international auspices earlier this month on reaching a political accommodation that would enable the restoration of desperately needed Western aid.

"The African Union cannot continue these dishonest and opaque discussions, which exclude participants or treat them unfairly," Mohammed Belaiche, the AU ambassador in Khartoum, told journalists on Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday, denouncing "erroneous interpretations" of these statements, the AU representation in Khartoum clarified that they did not mean that the AU "withdraws from the troika" that it forms with the UN and the East African regional organisation Igad to supervise this dialogue.

The AU explains that it is now refusing to participate in certain activities because of the "opacity and lack of respect for the participants" in this dialogue, which was launched at the beginning of June and is supposed to put the country back on the path to democracy.

The only people who attended the inter-Sudanese dialogue were the military and their allies among the former rebels who signed a peace deal with Khartoum after the fall of dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

A few civilians also attended this first meeting, but neither the Forces for Freedom and Change (FLC), the backbone of the civilian government that was sacked in the coup, nor the Umma Party, the country's oldest party, nor the Resistance Committees, which are leading the anti-coup protests, had agreed to participate.

These talks were postponed indefinitely, in particular after American diplomats tried in vain to intercede with the civilians.

The AU has suspended Sudan since the October 25, 2021 coup led by army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, who on that day had all his civilian partners in power arrested -- since released.

Since then, the country has been at a standstill: having emerged in 2019 from 30 years of Bashir's military-Islamist dictatorship, it is once again on the fringes of the nations, deprived of international aid - 40% of its budget - and sinking into the doldrums.

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