World reacts to the downfall of Omar Al-Bashir in Sudan

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Sudanese demonstrators gather in a street in central Khartoum on April 11, 2019, after one of Africa's longest-serving presidents was toppled by the army. (AFP)
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Sudanese demonstrators gather in a street in central Khartoum on April 11, 2019, after one of Africa's longest-serving presidents was toppled by the army. (AFP)
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A Sudanese demonstrator chants slogans as they gather in a street in central Khartoum on April 11, 2019, immediatly after one of Africa's longest-serving presidents was toppled by the army. (AFP)
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Sudanese demonstrators block the vehicle of a military officer as they chant slogans as they protest against the army's announcement that President Omar al-Bashir would be replaced by a military-led transitional council, in Khartoum, Sudan April 11, 2019. (Reuters)
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Demonstrators chant slogans along the streets after Sudan's Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf said that President Omar al-Bashir had been detained "in a safe place" and that a military council would run the country for a two-year transitional period in Khartoum, Sudan April 11, 2019. (Reuters)
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Sudanese demonstrators gather in a street in central Khartoum on April 11, 2019, immediatly after one of Africa's longest-serving presidents was toppled by the army. (AFP)
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Demonstrators wave their national flags as they drive along the streets of Sudan on April 11, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 11 April 2019
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World reacts to the downfall of Omar Al-Bashir in Sudan

  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for a transition in Sudan that will meet the "democratic aspirations" of the people
  • Egypt said it backed the removal of longtime autocratic ruler Omar Al-Bashir in neighboring Sudan

KHARTOUM: Here are the reactions to the end of Omar Al-Bashir's 30-year rule:
United Nations:
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for a transition in Sudan that will meet the "democratic aspirations" of the people, his spokesman said.
Guterres appealed for "calm and utmost restraint by all" after long-serving president Omar Al-Bashir was ousted by the army.

Egypt:
Egypt said it backed the removal of longtime autocratic ruler Omar Al-Bashir in neighboring Sudan.
In a statement, Egypt's Foreign Ministry expressed support to the "Sudanese people's choice and will."
The statement called on the international community to help Sudan to have a peaceful transition.

United States:

The US said it supported a peaceful and democratic Sudan and believes the Sudanese people should be allowed a peaceful transition sooner than two years from now.
"The Sudanese people should determine who leads them in their future," State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said. "The Sudanese people have been clear that they have been demanding a civilian-led transition."
Bahrain:

Bahrain said that it is following the current developments in Sudan with great interest, and hopes that the country will overcome this critical stage. It also said that the country stands with Sudan.  

African Union:
The African Union on Thursday criticised the military coup in Sudan and called for calm and restraint.
"The military take-over is not the appropriate response to the challenges facing Sudan and the aspirations of its people," said a statement from Moussa Faki, chairman of the AU Commission.
Britain:
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says two years of potential military rule in Sudan "is not the answer" for "real change" in the country.
Hunt tweeted Thursday that Sudan needs "a swift move to an inclusive, representative, civilian leadership" and an end to violence.
Turkey:
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said he hoped Sudan would return to a "normal democratic process" after an uprising led to the army toppling President Omar Al-Bashir, a close ally of Turkey.
"I hope that Sudan overcomes this affair with fraternity and ease, and I believe the country should work towards a normal democratic process," Erdogan said during a press conference in Ankara with the president of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
Russia:
Russia on Thursday called for calm in Sudan and expressed hope that close bilateral ties would not be threatened, irrespective of who was in power. 
"We are monitoring this situation very carefully," Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"And we are hoping that first and foremost there won't be an escalation that could claim human lives," he said, calling the protests an "internal affair".
"We expect that whatever the outcome, Russian-Sudanese relations" will be a priority for Khartoum, Peskov said. 
George Clooney:
Actor and activist George Clooney said Thursday that the fall of Sudan's veteran strongman Omar al-Bashir was not enough and called for the dismantling of the military-led system.
The Hollywood star, who has been arrested protesting against Sudan's campaign in Darfur that the United States described as genocide, called for Bashir to be extradited and prosecuted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.
"The people of Sudan have been waiting for this day for a long time, but it is only a tentative first step towards real change," Clooney said in a joint statement with John Prendergast, the human rights campaigner with whom the actor founded The Sentry Project, which researches illicit money and war crimes in Africa.

(With AP, AFP and Reuters)


Missile deal signals hot summer for Turkey’s transatlantic ties

Updated 45 min 4 sec ago
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Missile deal signals hot summer for Turkey’s transatlantic ties

  • Turkey says buying Russian weapons system is aimed at meeting Turkey’s defense needs

ANKARA: Turkey has until next month to cancel a multibillion dollar S-400 missile system deal with Russia, or face harsh US penalties, CNBC reported on Tuesday. 

If Ankara does not cancel in favor of buying the US-made Patriot missile defense system instead, it may also be removed from Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet program, costing thousands of jobs. Turkey is currently producing about 800 parts for the world’s most advanced fighter.

The delivery of 100 F-35s to Ankara may also be halted, and other defense and industrial cooperation projects with the US may be put at risk.   

In his latest visit to Turkey in early May, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said its procurement of the S-400 was a national decision. 

However, the system, which cannot be integrated alongside other NATO systems and carries fears around data collection, has been a major source of disagreement between Ankara and Washington. 

The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) used to impose sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia, could be used against Turkey should the deal with Moscow proceed, though it is thought not until Ankara takes physical delivery of the missiles, which is expected to take place in July.

Sanctions could include prohibitions on banking and foreign exchange transactions, and the denial of export licenses. 

Individuals involved may also be subject to visa denials and exclusion from the US, as well as partial freezing or confiscation of assets.

Aaron Stein, director of the Middle East program at the US-based Foreign Policy Research Institute, says CAATSA would hurt Turkish interests, but would also limit US President Donald Trump. 

“He could technically veto (CAATSA), but the language in the legislation is not as straightforward as other waivers included in sanctions legislation. It is not a question of if Turkey will be sanctioned, it is how, and using which of the 12 available sanctions,” he told Arab News. 

“Turkey would do itself a lot of favors if it stopped saying this was a done deal and delayed acquisition to allow for more talks. But that is Ankara’s choice to make.” 

Turkish military personnel have already traveled to Russia for training on the S-400 system, but Ankara does not believe the deal will affect its involvement in the F-35 program. 

Turkish officials are also evaluating an offer made by the US in late March to sell them the Patriot system, with a decision expected by early June.

In a statement on Tuesday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the country was meeting its responsibilities under the F-35 project and added that buying the Russian system aimed at meeting Turkey’s defense needs. 

“Turkey prepares itself for the possible implementation of CAATSA sanctions. In our meetings with the US, we perceive a general rapprochement on issues including the east of the Euphrates, F-35s and Patriots,” he said. 

Besides pushing Turkey away from the Atlantic alliance, the potential CAATSA sanctions would also hit the Turkish economy, which is already in recession, with the Turkish lira losing more than 40 percent of its value over the past two years.

Timothy Ash, a London-based economist, said Ankara would be taking a huge gamble if they thought Trump would block sanctions, telling Arab News it would be “catastrophic for the Turkish economy.”

Trump already doubled US tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum last year, over the detention of an American pastor on espionage charges in the country. 

“There will be very real and very negative consequences if Turkey goes through with its plans to buy the Russia system,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told reporters in Washington on Wednesday.

An expected state visit by Trump to Ankara in July has not been officially confirmed.