Sudan army 'suspends' talks until roads cleared

Some roads in Khartoum have been blocked for weeks by protesters

The Sudanese Transitional Military Council (TMC) said it has made a decision to suspend talks with the opposition for three days and remove all the barricades built by protesters in the country's capital of Khartoum, local media reported on Thursday.

Sudanese opposition leaders behind protests that drove President Omar al-Bashir from power last month are criticizing the ruling military council for unilaterally suspending negotiations with their representatives over a peaceful transfer of power to civilian rule.

The Alliance of Freedom and Change (AFC), the main body of Sudanese opposition behind the Sudan uprising, has repeated accusations that confirmed that the bullets that hit the protestors on Monday belong to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Sudan's main government militia.

Earlier General Yasser al-Atta, one of the members of the current ruling military council, had vowed to reach a deal by early Thursday that "meets the people's aspirations".

Significantly, the two sides agreed to devote the first six months of the transitional period to resolving the three conflicts that have over the years created a series of humanitarian crises of huge proportions.

After the military ousted al-Bashir and took over the country, the protesters remained on the streets, demanding that the ruling generals hand over power to civilians right away.

The military had proposed a two-year transition, while the protesters hoped for four.

The transitional parliament will have 300 members, of whom 67% will be appointed by the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces and 33% will be negotiated between the two sides.

Such a council will determine the real wielders of power in Sudan during the transition period before an eventual return to civilian rule.

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It promised to maintain sit-in protests outside the Defence Ministry in Khartoum and across the country.

Both the protesters and the transitional military council say the violence was instigated by al-Bashir loyalists from within the security forces.

Protesters said the army aimed to provoke demonstrators. The sticking point in the talks remained the makeup of the sovereign council that is to guide the nation through the transition, and the extent the military would have in that council.

Sudanese protesters erect a barricade along a street during demonstrations in central Khartoum, Sudan, May 15, 2019.

Protest leaders also told AFP earlier that the military council had suspended the talks. Elections would be held at the end of the three-year transition.

"The announcement is expected after midnight", he told AFP.

He said bridges, roads and a railway line had been closed and there was an "infiltration of armed elements among demonstrators who were shooting at security forces".

Meanwhile, a group of United States Senators have reiterated a call for America to stand with the Sudanese people in their fight to achieve a democratic country.

Opposition leaders blamed the attacks on forces loyal to al-Bashir and held the transitional military council responsible for protecting protesters.

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