Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir calls state of emergency, names new PM

President Omar Al-Bashir dissolved the government and called a state of emergency in an address to the nation in Khartoum on Friday. (Reuters)
Updated 23 February 2019
0

Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir calls state of emergency, names new PM

  • Bashir called on parliament to postpone constitutional amendments that would allow him to run for another term
  • Address to nation comes amid biggest protests against his 30-year rule

KHARTOUM: Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir declared a state of emergency and dissolved central and regional governments on Friday.

Addressing the nation, Al-Bashir called on parliament to postpone constitutional amendments that would allow him to run for another term in a presidential election in 2020.

Al-Bashir appointed a new prime minister, but left the country's current defense, foreign and justice ministers in place.

The president also appointed new state governors who were all from the military, according to a presidency statement.

Bashir has been facing the biggest popular protests against his rule since he came to power 30 years ago.

Earlier Friday, security forces fired teargas to disperse hundreds of protesters who marched and chanted anti-government slogans following Friday prayers at a major mosque near the Sudanese capital.

The demonstration in the city of Omdurman outside Al-Sayed Abd Al-Rahman Al-Mahdi mosque, which has ties to the opposition Umma party, was the latest in what have become near-daily protests in Sudan since Dec. 19.

Protesters chanted “the revolution is the choice of the people” and “fall, that’s it,” to express that their only demand is the end of President Omar Al-Bashir’s rule.

The demonstrations were triggered by price increases and cash shortages but have developed into protests targeting Bashir himself.

Activists say nearly 60 people have been killed during two months of protests, while authorities put the death toll at 32, including three security personnel.

Security forces have used tear gas and live bullets to disperse protesters, and have arrested people including opposition party members, activists and journalists.

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court over charges of masterminding genocide in the Darfur region, which he denies. He has been lobbying for Sudan to be removed from a list of countries Washington deems state sponsors of terrorism.

The listing has blocked the investment and financial aid that Sudan was hoping for when the United States lifted sanctions in 2017, economists say.

Sudan has been rapidly expanding its money supply in an attempt to finance its budget deficit, causing spiraling inflation and a steep decline in the value of its currency.


Syria's return to Arab League not on summit agenda: spokesman

Updated 25 min 47 sec ago
0

Syria's return to Arab League not on summit agenda: spokesman

  • The pan-Arab bloc, which is set to hold its annual summit in Tunisia on March 31, froze Syria's membership in November 2011 over a bloody government crackdown on protestors
  • But several of the bloc's other 21 members have recently renewed ties with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad

CAIRO: The Arab League said Sunday it was not planning to discuss reinstating Syria's membership at a summit later this month, more than eight years after suspending it as the country descended into war.
The pan-Arab bloc, which is set to hold its annual summit in Tunisia on March 31, froze Syria's membership in November 2011 over a bloody government crackdown on protestors.
But several of the bloc's other 21 members have recently renewed ties with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and some have called for Syria to be re-admitted to the league.
"The issue of Syria's return to the Arab League has yet to be listed on the agenda and has not been formally proposed," said the League's spokesman Mahmoud Afifi.
He noted that the "Syrian crisis" however still tops the agenda, along with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the situation in Yemen and Libya.
Syria's conflict flared in 2011 with anti-government demonstrations that sparked a brutal regime crackdown.
It has since drawn in regional powers, killing 370,000 people and displacing millions.
But the regime, backed by allies Russia and Iran, has since re-conquered much of the territory it had lost to rebels and terrorists, and now controls some two-thirds of the country.
Syria's Kurds, which declared victory over Daesh on Saturday, control much of the oil-rich northeast, which the regime has hinted it may seize back in a military operation.
Earlier this month, Syrian officials attended a meeting of Arab states in neighbouring Jordan for the first time since the country's Arab League membership was suspended.
Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir in December made the first visit of any Arab leader to the Syrian capital since 2011.
The same month, Egypt hosted Syria's national security chief and top Assad aide Ali Mamluk.
The UAE also reopened its Damascus embassy in a major sign of a diplomatic thaw.
Arab states have also slammed US President Donald Trump's call for recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a strategic territory the Jewish state seized from Syria in 1967.