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UNITAMS and AU: Sudan may 'plunge into the abyss' if no solution is found soon

March 11 - 2022 KHARTOUM
A Sudanese flag covered in blood during the January 17 massacre in which seven protesters were murdered and more than one hundred were injured as coup authorities used heavy violence to suppress the protests (social media)
A Sudanese flag covered in blood during the January 17 massacre in which seven protesters were murdered and more than one hundred were injured as coup authorities used heavy violence to suppress the protests (social media)

UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) and the African Union announced yesterday that they will collaborate with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to support Sudan’s democratic transition. They warned that Sudan has little time left to find a solution to the current political process if it wishes to avoid more disastrous consequences.

UNITAMS Head Volker Perthes called on the Sudanese parties to speed up finding a solution to the country’s political crisis. “We don’t have much time, and we’ve seen in the last four months the deterioration of the security, political and economic situation”, he said.

In a joint press conference with African Union (AU) envoy Mohamed El Hassan Ould Lebatt yesterday, Volker Perthes warned of great damages to Sudan if no solution is reached before June, referring to important dates related to settling Sudan’s debts and World Bank grant agreements.

The UNITAMS head and African Union envoy said they would join their efforts to bring the current political stalemate to an end and restore a civilian-led transitional government.

They stressed that the United Nations are committed to partnering with the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to restore the constitutional situation and return Sudan to a real democratic transition path, ending with free and fair elections and democratic civilian rule.

Perthes indicated that IGAD is in the process of appointing an envoy to Sudan within the framework of partnership with the United Nations Mission and the African Union.

'We don’t have much time, and we’ve seen in the last four months the deterioration of the security, political and economic situation' - Volker Perthes

Not much time

Perthes highlighted the urgency of the situation and emphasised that there is little time left to find a solution, pointing to the deteriorating economic and security situation in Sudan and the bloody repression against protesters.

He stressed the need to rebuild some confidence between the current authorities and the Sudanese people by stopping violence, ensuring the right to peaceful demonstration, ending arbitrary arrests, releasing detainees, and lifting the current State of Emergency.

He highlighted the increasing sense of despair among the Sudanese of the depth of the crisis. However, Perthes added that the consultations with different political groups that UNITAMS conducted since January produced many points of consensus.

Perthes added that "people are in the streets” and that, as UNITAMS, "we plan to work together [with authorities] for weeks, not months”, indicating the urgency to find solutions in the near future.

He also emphasised the importance of including Sudanese people in the process of finding a solution, stressing that there is no future for a settlement in the absence of youth and women.

'Sudan is in great danger and may plunge into the abyss’  - Mohamed El Hassan Lebatt

Mohamed El Hassan Ould Lebatt, the African Union's special envoy to Sudan, also called on the Sudanese parties to ‘move urgently’ to find a solution and reach a constitutional document governing the transitional period.

He said that all factors indicate that the country is ‘in great danger and may plunge into the abyss’ and called on authorities to return the country to the transitional constitutional path that was halted by the October 25 coup.

Lebatt stressed the need for a constitutional document to govern the country and to set up an emergency programme for a transitional government with measures to maintain security and safety, meet the needs of the people, and arrange free and transparent democratic elections.

He also said that a lack of agreement between civilian political or activist organisations would throw the country further into the hands of the military establishment.

FFC

The Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) welcomed the joint action between the African Union and the UNITAMS to solve the Sudanese crisis.

The Executive Office of the FFC said that their delegation from it met with Lebatt and Perthes yesterday morning.

The Executive Office affirmed its position that any political process must begin with abolishing the state of emergency, ending violence, releasing all detainees, and stopping all violations against demonstrators and other coup critics to create a healthy climate for the political process towards democracy to continue.

Repression and violence

The organisations highlighted the urgency of finding a solution at a time when anti-coup protesters are heavily repressed and faced with excessive violence by the military coup authorities, and when conflicts in Darfur and other areas are allowed to escalate with no intervention by authorities

Only yesterday, two more protesters were murdered by security forces during the March 10 Marches of the Millions. An 11-year-old boy was shot in the chest during the protests and at least 20 others were severely injured, the Socialist Doctors Association said.

At least 87 protesters have been killed since the October 25 military coup.


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