JAKARTA - Sudan's military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said on Monday the army would not participate in an internationally-led dialogue effort to break the stalemate with the civilian opposition, while urging political and revolutionary groups to start talks to form a transitional government.
Last October, the Sudanese military staged a coup, dissolving the transitional government that was formed after President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in the 2019 popular uprising.
The military takeover has sparked frequent mass demonstrations demanding the army withdraw from politics. The United Nations and African Union have led mediation efforts to break the deadlock as the economic crisis worsens, but there has been little sign of progress.
General Burhan was speaking on television as protesters in the capital Khartoum stepped up pressure on the military rulers, holding a days-long sit-in against the deaths of nine civilians on Thursday last week, during anti-military demonstrations.
About 2.000 people participated in a sit-in near the city center on Monday afternoon, a Reuters witness said.
On Monday, General Burhan said the army's decision not to participate in the talks was merely to allow political and revolutionary groups to form a government. Since the coup, most civilian groups have refused to negotiate with the military, leading to the current stalemate.
He called on civic groups to start a serious dialogue to bring the country back to a democratic transition. The military will be committed to implementing the results of the dialogue, he said.
Furthermore, General Burhan said the sovereign council he chaired, and which includes both military and civilian members, would be dissolved once a new government is formed.
It is understood that a new Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will then be established and be responsible for security and defense tasks, as well as related responsibilities in accordance with the agreement with the government, Burhan said.
However, General Burhan's comments did not explain further how big the political role of the armed forces in the future.
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