AU envoy says a lack of transparency means he will stay away from 'some' Sudan meetings

African Union denies that its envoy is withdrawing from efforts to resolve Sudan crisis

Sudanese protesters on June 3 commemorate the third anniversary of a deadly crackdown by security forces on protesters during a sit-in outside the army headquarters in Khartoum.  AP Photo
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The African Union envoy in Sudan said he had suspended his participation in some of the UN-led meetings held with Sudanese stakeholders to find a way out of the country’s political crisis.

A brief statement by the AU mission in Sudan denied what it described as unfounded reports that its envoy, Mohamed Belaiche, had withdrawn from the process led by the UN, the AU and the regional Igad grouping.

“What happened is that the head of mission has asserted that he would not attend some activities because of lack of transparency, respect of all relevant parties and commitment to include all parties in the political process to ensure its success,” the AU statement said.

The statement provided no further details, but sources close to the process told The National that the decision by the AU in Khartoum was in response to its exclusion from closed-door meetings between Sudanese politicians and top generals on one side and representatives of the UN or the European Union in Sudan.

“There are bilateral meetings taking place and we think a resolution is being searched for outside the process initiated by the trio mechanism [the UN, AU and Igad],” one source said. “This is dangerous. A deal between the military and just one political party, regardless of its power or influence, will not resolve the Sudan crisis.”

The three groups had for months held consultations with political stakeholders to pave the way for direct negotiations to chart a way out of the crisis sparked by a military coup last October.

Earlier this month, opposition parties and pro-democracy groups boycotted the inaugural session of direct negotiations, forcing the trio to indefinitely postpone the process.

However, a major pro-democracy group ― Forces of Freedom and Change, FFC ― has met twice with top generals in an attempt to resolve the crisis, but their talks appear to have made no tangible progress.

The FFC was the military’s chief partner in a transitional administration that took office in 2019, just four months after the dictator Omar Al Bashir was ousted in a popular uprising.

Updated: June 22, 2022, 1:04 PM