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'Regime change not through social media, but elections': Sudan's Al Bashir

February 1 - 2019 KASSALA
President Omar Al Bashir addresses a mass rally in January (file photo)
President Omar Al Bashir addresses a mass rally in January (file photo)

The change of government is not through WhatsApp and Facebook, but through elections,” President Omar Al Bashir said during a speech on Thursday to announce the opening of the border with Eritrea.

At a mass rally in Kassala, the president told the crowd that he is committed to not respond to calls to step down from power, stressing that such a decision is determined by the electoral process.

According to Al Bashir, the state is committed to sit with the youth and hold a dialogue with them, as he announced in his speech on opening the border with the Eritrea. It has been a year after its closure, amid accusations that Asmara supported rebel attacks against Al Bashir's regime.

The Sudanese Minister of Defence and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Kamal Abdelmarouf, announced in a statement on Wednesday the adherence of the armed forces to the Sudanese leadership, represented by President Al Bashir. “The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) will not allow the Sudanese state to fall or to slide into the unknown.”

Eritrean border

With the opening of the border with Eritrea, the president said they aimed to exchange benefits and freedom of movement between the border components and to promote peaceful coexistence between neighbouring countries.

“Politics may divide us, but what brings us together is bigger than what it divides us. There are bonds of blood and geography,” Al Bashir said at the rally in Kassala on Thursday.

In January 2018, Khartoum officially announced its preparation for “security threats” from its neighbour Eritrea after military movements in the area adjacent to Sudan’s Kassala state. The border has remained closed since then.

The Sudanese president is touring some neighbouring countries and teh region as he is facing the largest protests in his 30 years of rule. He visited the Qatari emir in Janaury. During his visit to Cairo on Sunday, where he met President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, the Sudanese leader said the unrest in his country was “an attempt to copy the so-called Arab Spring for Sudan”.

In 2020, the upcoming elections will take place, for which Al Bashir will be running for a third term.

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