AU envoy mediates Sudan crisis as protesters slam military

Members of Sudan's alliance of opposition and protest groups chant slogans outside Sudan's Central Bank during the second day of a strike, as tensions mounted with the country's military rulers over the transition to democracy, in Khartoum, Sudan May 29, 2019. (FILE/Reuters)
Updated 13 June 2019

AU envoy mediates Sudan crisis as protesters slam military

  • Leaders of the country’s protest movement accuse the ruling military of pursuing a brutal crackdown on protestors

KHARTOUM: On Wednesday, the top US diplomat for Africa joined an international effort to press Sudan’s military rulers and the opposition toward a deal on a transition to democracy following the toppling of Bashir.

An African Union (AU) envoy said mediation efforts to ease Sudan’s crisis are making “significant progress.”

Ethiopia and the US have recently stepped up diplomatic efforts to ease Sudan’s growing tensions. 

The AU envoy to Sudan, Mohammed El-Hacen Lebatt, declined to elaborate on where the mediation talks were headed, saying during a news conference in Khartoum that it was up to the two sides to disclose the outcome of the talks.

The head of Sudan’s ruling military council met with US diplomats in Khartoum and the AU envoy to Sudan on Thursday, the council said.

The ruling Transitional Military Council said Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan met with Tibor Nagy, the US assistant secretary for Africa, and veteran diplomat Donald Booth, who was appointed US envoy to Sudan on Wednesday.

Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday the military council and leaders of the protest movement had agreed to resume their talks soon, “in good-faith to iron-out the remaining outstanding points.” 

Those points include setting up a government council to run Sudan during a transition period. 

The ministry said both sides also agreed to refrain from inflammatory rhetoric and de-escalate tensions, and that the military council would undertake confidence-building measures including the release of political prisoners.

However, Tarek Abdel Meguid, a leader of The Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change (FDFC), said the direct talks with the military had yet to resume. 


Libyan navy says more than 300 migrants rescued

Updated 34 min 58 sec ago

Libyan navy says more than 300 migrants rescued

  • 128 Sudanese were in the boats, in addition to migrants from Chad, Egypt, Niger, Benin and Eritrea
  • It came days after Libyan navy patrols “rescued 278 migrants on board four inflatable boats

TRIPOLI: The Libyan navy said Sunday 335 migrants had been rescued and one body recovered in separate operations off the coast, as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe.
Nine children were among 57 migrants in a wooden boat rescued Saturday about 40 nautical miles from the town of Zuwara, west of Tripoli, navy spokesman General Ayoub Kacem told AFP.
He said they were from Ethiopia and Egypt.
It came days after Libyan navy patrols on Tuesday “rescued 278 migrants on board four inflatable boats northwest and northeast of Tripoli,” Kacem added.
The operations took place off the coasts of the cities of Khoms, 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Tripoli, and Sabratha, located 70 kilometers west of the capital.
According to the statement, 128 Sudanese were in the boats, in addition to migrants from Chad, Egypt, Niger, Benin and Eritrea, including 35 women and 11 children.
One body was also recovered by the coast guard.
Libya, which has been wracked by chaos since the 2011 uprising that killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi, has long been a major transit route for migrants, especially from sub-Saharan Africa.
In general, migrants rescued at sea are first met by humanitarian agencies that provide medical care and food.
They are then taken into the charge of the body working to combat immigration at the interior ministry of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord.
On August 9, the Libyan navy accused the authorities of failing to manage migrants rescued at sea, claiming that it could be forced to let people go free once brought back to land.
Despite the risks, migrants continue to attempt to reach Europe by sea, preferring to take their chances than stay in Libya, where they are subject to abuse, extortion and torture, according to humanitarian organizations.