Sudan’s opposition accepts invitation to meet military council for talks

April 24, 2019

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s opposition late on Wednesday accepted an invitation to talks with the ruling Transitional Military Council amid rising tension over how long it will take to move to civilian rule after the overthrow of autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

The TMC and the opposition umbrella group Forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change have appeared on a collision course in recent days over popular demands for democratization under civilian government.

“The Transitional Military Council declares that the doors of dialogue and negotiation are open,” the TMC said in a statement on Wednesday. The opposition movement, which includes protest organizers the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), said it would come to talks with the TMC.

“The Forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change decided to respond to the invitation and listen with an open mind to what the president of the military council will propose, asserting that our desire is the peaceful transfer to a transitional civilian authority that reflects the forces of the revolution,” the SPA said in a statement.

The SPA had declared on Sunday it would suspend talks with the military council.

While the opposition has insisted on a swift handover of power to civilians, the TMC has said the process could take up to two years. Bashir ruled for 30 years after taking power in a military coup.

On Tuesday, the SPA and witnesses said security forces tried to break up a protester sit-in outside Khartoum’s Defence Ministry. The group instead encouraged protesters to put up more barriers and continue their demonstration.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz in Khartoum and Nayera Abdallah in Cairo; Writing by Lena Masri; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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