New Sudan power-sharing plan to come ‘within days’, UN envoy says

Mediators work to hammer out compromise as anti-military protests continue

Protesters demonstrate against the Sudanese military's recent seizure of power in Khartoum. Reuters

The UN envoy to Sudan on Monday described intensive efforts to mediate between the military leaders who staged last week’s coup and civilian leaders, saying a new power-sharing plan could be revealed within days.

Speaking via video link from Khartoum, UN envoy Volker Perthes described a “lot of shuttling” between Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and others during a weekend in which the capital was the scene of intense anti-coup protests.

Gen Al Burhan dissolved Mr Hamdok's Cabinet last Monday, detained the prime minister and key politicians, and declared a state of emergency, sparking mass rallies and clashes with security forces in which at least 15 protesters have been killed.

Mr Perthes has met Gen Al Burhan and Mr Hamdok, who was allowed to return home under guard a day after the coup. He would not reveal the two men’s wish lists, saying instead that mediators were trying to hammer out a compromise.

“A bigger package itself [is] being put up for negotiation and we hope that within the next couple of days, the contours of a package would become visible,” Mr Perthes told reporters.

“Mediation efforts are indeed going on. There is a lot of shuttling between the general command and the prime minister's residence and other places where other officials are located.”

Mr Perthes said talks also involved paramilitary chief Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo — also known as Hemedti — the Forces of Freedom and Change rebel coalition, Sudanese intellectuals and civil society leaders.

Also involved were “countries most effectively able to put their weight in,” he added, including the US, South Sudan, Egypt, the UAE, African countries and UN Security Council members.

Gen Al Burhan has denied staging a coup and pledged to name a government, but has yet to deliver as mediation efforts involving key political figures and the UN continue amid strikes and protests.

Negotiations have focused on finding a way for Mr Hamdok, an economist supported by Sudanese pro-democracy campaigners, to gain full executive powers and appoint a new Cabinet of technocrats.

Mr Hamdok resisted pressure to dissolve his Cabinet before the coup and since the putsch has indicated he will not negotiate until the army commits to restoring a power-sharing arrangement with civilian leaders.

“We have had several waves of arrests, several political leaders under arrest, activists, friends of the resistance are still under arrest, not everyone is accounted for,” Mr Perthes said.

“I have therefore repeatedly called on the authorities to release the detainees.”

Dozens of countries on Monday called for the UN Human Rights Council to host a special session on Sudan amid fears of abuses as the military cracked down on protests.

In a letter on behalf of 48 countries, UK ambassador Simon Manley stressed the urgent need for the top UN rights body to “address the human rights implications of the ongoing situation” in Sudan.

“A special session is needed because of the importance and urgency of the situation,” he said.

Updated: November 2nd 2021, 11:14 AM