Three bodies found after Sudan protests turn deadly

Thousands of people in Sudan continue to take to the streets and demand civilian rule. (File/AFP)
Updated 01 July 2019

Three bodies found after Sudan protests turn deadly

  • Sunday’s demonstrations were the first mass protests since the military crackdown a month ago
  • Military seized the power after toppling Bashir in April

OMDOURMAN: Three blood-stained bodies were found on Monday in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman, an AFP correspondent reported, a day after mass protests against the ruling generals rocked Sudan.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets on Sunday demanding civilian rule, in the first mass rally since a deadly crackdown on a protest camp nearly a month ago.
Crowds of protesters had flooded Khartoum and Omdurman, just across the Nile river from the capital, along with several other cities and towns across the country.
A health ministry official said that seven people were killed during Sunday’s rally without elaborating how they died, while the protest movement said five demonstrators had been killed.
It also said that several more were seriously wounded by gunshots fired by “the military council militias.”
And on Monday three bodies were found on the ground in Omdurman in an area where protests were held, the AFP correspondent reported.
Their identities were not immediately clear.
Crowds of people had gathered around the bodies, chanting “Just Fall, Just Fall,” a catchcry of the protest movement that has rocked Sudan since demonstrations first erupted against since-ousted ruler Omar Al-Bashir in December.
Sunday’s mass protest was the first such rally since the June 3 crackdown on a protest camp outside the military headquarters in Khartoum left dozens dead and hundreds wounded.
The raid on the protest sit-in came days after the collapse of talks between protest leaders and generals about installing civilian rule.
The generals seized power after the army toppled Bashir in April following nationwide protests against his ironfisted three-decade rule.


Iranian foreign minister Zarif arrives in Biarritz during G7

Updated 25 August 2019

Iranian foreign minister Zarif arrives in Biarritz during G7

  • Iranian foreign ministry says Zarif will not hold talks with Trump and his team
  • Earlier Trump dampened down Emmanuel Macron's optimism on Iran talks

BIARRITZ, France: -Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif landed in the French seaside resort of Biarritz Sunday for talks during a G7 summit.

"Zarif... has arrived in Biarritz, where the G7 is being held, to continue talks regarding the recent measures between the presidents of Iran and France," foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, referring to their efforts to salvage a nuclear deal.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump appeared to brush aside French efforts to mediate with Iran on Sunday, saying that while he was happy for President Emmanuel Macron to reach out to Tehran to defuse tensions he would carry on with his own initiatives.
European leaders have struggled to tamp down the brewing confrontation between Iran and the United States since Trump pulled his country out of Iran’s internationally-brokered 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on the Iranian economy.
Macron, who has pushed mediation efforts in recent weeks to avoid a further deterioration in the region, had told LCI television that the G7 had agreed on joint action on Iran.
The French presidency said G7 leaders had even agreed that Macron should hold talks and pass on messages to Iran after they discussed the issue over dinner at a summit in southwestern France on Saturday evening.
However, Trump, who has pushed a maximum pressure policy on Iran, pushed back.
Asked if he had signed off on a statement that Macron intends to give on behalf of the G7 on Iran, Trump said:
“I haven’t discussed this. No I haven’t,” he told reporters, adding that Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were free to talk to Iran.
“We’ll do our own outreach, but, you know, I can’t stop people from talking. If they want to talk, they can talk.”
Macron, who has taken the lead to defuse tensions fearing that a collapse of the nuclear deal could set ablaze the Middle East, met Zarif on Friday. The aim was to discuss proposals that could ease the crisis, including the idea of reducing some US sanctions or providing Iran with an economic compensation mechanism.
Macron appeared to backtrack on his own team’s comments later, saying there was no formal mandate from the G7 leaders to pass a message to Iran.
Highlighting just how difficult agreeing on concrete measures between allies is, Macron said the leaders’ views had converged on not wanting Iran to acquire a nuclear bomb and ensuring peace and security in the Middle East.
He was supposed to discuss those ideas with Trump on the sidelines of the G7, which also comprises Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan and the EU.
“Everyone wants to avoid a conflict, Donald Trump was extremely clear on that point,” Macron told LCI.
“We have to continue to take initiatives and in the coming weeks that on the one hand there are no more Iranian decisions that contradict this objective and that we open new negotiations,” Macron said without giving details.
In response to the tougher US sanctions and what it says is the inability of European powers party to the deal — France, Britain and Germany, to compensate it for its lost oil revenue, Tehran has responded with a series of moves, including retreating from some of its commitments to limit its nuclear activity made under the deal.
The United States has made no indication it will ease any sanctions and it is unclear what kind of compensation mechanism Macron wants to offer Iran given at this stage a proposed trade channel for humanitarian and food exchanges with Iran is still not operational.
Macron has also said that in return for any concessions he would expect Iran to comply fully with the nuclear deal and for Iran to engage in new negotiations that would include its ballistic missile program and regional activities.