General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the Sudanese military, declared on Monday that the army would not take part in any international-led efforts to break the impasse it has with the civilian opposition. He also urged political and revolutionary groups to begin negotiations to establish a transitional government.
After President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in a popular revolt in 2019, a transitional government was established. However, last October, the Sudanese military mounted a coup and overthrew it.
The military takeover resulted in regular large-scale protests calling for the army to leave politics. As the economic crisis grew worse, the United Nations and the African Union took the lead in mediation efforts to end the impasse, but there have been few signs of success.
Burhan spoke on television as protesters in the capital Khartoum increased pressure on military rulers by holding days of sit-ins against the death of nine civilians on Thursday during anti-military rallies.
About 2,000 people were participating in one sit-in near the city centre on Monday afternoon, a Reuters witness said.
On Monday, Burhan said the army’s decision not to participate in talks was to allow political and revolutionary groups to form a government. Since the coup, most civilian groups have refused to negotiate with the military, which has led to the current stalemate.
He called on civilian groups to start a serious dialogue to bring the country back to a democratic transition. The military will be committed to implementing the outcomes of the dialogue, he said.
Burhan said the ruling sovereign council that he leads, and which includes military and civilian members, would be dissolved after a new government forms.
A new Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would then be created and be responsible for security and defence tasks as well as related responsibilities in agreement with the government, Burhan said.
His comments did not further clarify how much of a political role the armed forces would play going forward.