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Sudan coup: International community call for restraint and calm

April 11 - 2019 NEW YORK / ADDIS ABABA (UPDATED 23:25)
UN Secretary-General António Guterres (UN Photo)
UN Secretary-General António Guterres (UN Photo)

The international community including the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat have called for restraint and calm in reaction to reports of today’s military coup that ended the 30-year rule of Omar Al Bashir.

In a statement on Thursday following news of the arrest of Al Bashir, and the assumption of power by a military Supreme Security Committee, led by Sudanese Defence Minister and Vice-President Lt Gen Awad Ibn Auf, spokesman Stéphane Dujarric says: “The Secretary-General continues to follow the developments in Sudan very closely. He reiterates his call for calm and utmost restraint by all.”

In the statement, Guterres recalls his previous encouragement and expectation that the democratic aspiration of the Sudanese people will be realised through an appropriate and inclusive transition process.

“The Secretary-General reaffirms that the United Nations stands ready to support the Sudanese people as they chart a way forward,” the statement concludes.

African Union

In statement from African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa today, the chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, says he is closely monitoring the ongoing developments in Sudan, in particular the announcement of Lt Gen Awad Ibn Auf on the suspension of the Constitution, the dissolution of the National Assembly, the formation of a military-led transitional government which will rule for two years, and the arrest of President Omar Al Bashir, as well as the imposition of a State of Emergency for three months.

‘Coup not appropriate response’

Mahamat expresses the African Union conviction that the military take-over is not the appropriate response to the challenges facing Sudan and the aspirations of its people.

In his statement, he cites the 2000 Lomé Declaration on the unconstitutional change of government and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance, which strongly condemn any unconstitutional change of government and commit member states to the respect of the rule of law, democratic principles and human rights.

“In view of the ongoing developments, the Chairperson reiterates these provisions, and looks forward to the Peace and Security Council meeting swiftly to consider the situation and take the appropriate decisions.

“In the meantime, the chairperson urges all concerned to exercise calm and utmost restraint, and to respect the rights of citizens, foreign nationals, and private property in the interest of the country and its people.

Inclusive dialogue

The AU Commission chairperson further appeals to all stakeholders to engage in an inclusive dialogue to create the conditions that will make it possible to meet the aspirations of the Sudanese people to democracy, good governance and well-being and restore constitutional order as soon as possible, the statement Concludes.

The Chairperson expresses the African Union solidarity with the people of Sudan, and pledges its commitment and readiness to support Sudan during this period, in line with the relevant AU instruments and principles.

International comment

On social media, prominent US-based Sudan researcher and analyst, Prof Eric Reeves, commented: “This was the inevitable response to what is now clearly an attempt to foist a ‘palace coup’ on the people of Sudan. It will not work, and the demonstration will continue. Defence Minister General Awad Ibn Auf is as brutal and barbaric as Al Bashir.”

Commenting on the appeal by the Sudanese Professionals Association and the signatories to the Declaration of Freedom and Change to the people of Sudan to continue with the campaign of protests and sit-ins, Prof Reeves says: This exactly what should happen if the people of Sudan are to enjoy peace, freedom, and justice. It will not come from the military junta Awad Ibn Auf proposes. The uprising will not be fooled, and it will continue undiminished.”

In reaction to the comments of the UN Secretary-General and the AU, Prof reeves says: "An all too predictable weakness and lack of honesty about the meaning of the Ibn Auf replacement of Al Bashir. Offers of 'help' and 'assistance' to the people of Sudan should take the form of forceful condemnation of this palace coup."

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