Thirteen countries and the European Union, together known as the Friends of Sudan, have welcomed a report by the UN mission in the country on the continuing political crisis, which demonstrates consensus among stakeholders on key issues.
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, the UAE, UK, US and EU said the UN report showed positive signs from the 800 participants interviewed for the report, of which a third were women.
“The active engagement of a wide range of Sudanese stakeholders in the consultations, including those representing women, youth, and other groups and regions is a strong and encouraging sign of the actors’ unwavering commitment to resolving the political crisis and to paving the way for a democratic and peaceful Sudan,” Friends of Sudan said in a statement.
The UN report showed agreement on issues including the installation of a transitional cabinet made up of civilian technocrats, the need to reduce the authority possessed by the ruling military Sovereign Council and the importance of establishing an interim Legislative Assembly while equitably involving women in the political process.
These steps were among those participants agreed were required to bring the country towards free and fair elections.
Sudan has been embroiled in political turmoil since 2018 when mass protests gripped the country, eventually toppling long-time dictator Omar Al Bashir in August 2019 and bringing rise to a transitional government in a power-sharing agreement between the military and civilians.
However, this stability did not last long as on October 25 of last year, the military once again seized power in a coup against the civilian portion of the Sovereign Council, declared a state of emergency and detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok before he resigned.
A popular uprising began once again across the country, this time calling for a purely civilian government and rejecting any compromises or negotiations with the ruling military authority.
The Friends of Sudan highlighted that the political process must be Sudanese-owned and led.
“The Friends of Sudan call on all relevant Sudanese stakeholders to engage in the next phase of a political process to resolve the political crisis in Sudan,” it said.
Protests continue as the civilian death toll caused by security forces has risen to at least 85 since October.