Sudan rivals agree to new talks as strike ends

FRENCH PRESS AGENCY - AFP
Khartoum
Published 13.06.2019 00:28

Protest leaders have agreed to end a campaign of civil disobedience launched after a deadly crackdown on demonstrators and to resume talks with Sudan's ruling generals, an Ethiopian mediator said Tuesday.

The apparent breakthrough, which the military rulers had yet to confirm, came as a top US diplomat prepared to embark on a mission to press the generals to halt the crackdown on protesters demanding civilian rule.

Sudan has been led by a military council since it toppled autocratic president Omar al-Bashir on April 11 after months of nationwide protests against his iron-fisted rule of three decades.

Following Bashir's removal, protesters camped outside military headquarters in Khartoum for weeks to demand civilian rule, before security and paramilitary forces dispersed them in a June 3 crackdown that killed dozens.

The protest movement launched a campaign of civil disobedience on Sunday, and most businesses stayed closed and residents hunkered indoors for the next three days.

It had threatened to pile even more pressure on the generals by releasing a list of members for a new ruling body, the key point of dispute between the two sides. They agreed however to end the campaign and return to talks, said an envoy of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.The protest movement itself said in a statement that it was calling on people "to resume work from Wednesday".

The council also called for an immediate halt to attacks against civilians and stressed the importance of upholding human rights, a week after Russia and China blocked a similar draft statement on the crisis.The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces accused of having played the lead role in last week's crackdown patrolled districts in their trademark pickup trucks fitted with heavy machine guns. In the northern district of Bahari, a hotbed of unrest where protesters had put up roadblocks in the past few weeks, most shops were closed Tuesday but there were no barricades to be seen, an AFP correspondent reported. Demonstrators declared their nationwide shutdown a success.

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