UN Security Council calls for ‘utmost restraint’ from all parties in Sudan

UN Security Council calls for ‘utmost restraint’ from all parties in Sudan
People protest in Khartoum, Sudan, two days after a military coup, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (AP)
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Updated 29 October 2021

UN Security Council calls for ‘utmost restraint’ from all parties in Sudan

UN Security Council calls for ‘utmost restraint’ from all parties in Sudan
  • Statement followed several attempts by council members to agree a unified position in the face of Russian objections
  • Moscow’s envoy refused to describe the military takeover as a coup, said “all parties” are guilty of violent acts

NEW YORK: The Security Council on Thursday condemned the “military takeover” in Sudan on Oct. 25, including the suspension of some transitional institutions, the declaration of a state of emergency, and the detention of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other members of the transitional government.

Council members noted that Hamdok has now returned to his residence, where he remains under guard, after initially being detained at the home of Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, the head of the armed forces. They demanded the immediate release of all others detained by the military authorities.

They also called on “all parties to exercise the utmost restraint (and) refrain from the use of violence,” and underscored the necessity of respecting human rights, including the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

The statement was the Security Council’s fourth attempt at agreeing a unified position on the situation in Sudan, after the Russian representative objected to calling the takeover a coup and insisted that protesters as well as the military are guilty of violence.

Asked on Wednesday whether Russia was prepared to condemn the coup, Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy said: “These formulas are tricky.

“It’s difficult to say (whether or not) it is a coup because a coup has a specific definition. There are many (similar) situations around the world but they’re not being called a coup. It’s not our task to label such a situation as a coup. It’s up to the Sudanese to decide whether or not it’s a coup.”

Polyanskyi criticized the US decision to halt aid to Sudan that was intended to assist the political transition to civilian rule, and said that the violence in the country is not restricted to the military.

While opinions may differ on the definition of a coup, he said, “I don’t think there are differences in the definition of violence. When people are being killed, when there are demonstrations, when there are attacks, (it) doesn’t matter (if it’s against) military, policemen, civilian population … violence is violence.

“Violence should stop, from all sides. As far as I see they’re not peacefully protesting. There are violent protests.”

The Security Council urged Sudan’s military authorities to restore the civilian-led transitional government, and all stakeholders to return to negotiations “without preconditions, in order to enable the full implementation of the Constitutional Document and the Juba Peace Agreement, which underpin Sudan’s democratic transition.”

Council members expressed their support for the hopes and democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people, and reiterated “their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and national unity of Sudan.”

They also voiced support for regional and sub-regional efforts to address the situation, including those by the League of Arab States and the African Union. The latter suspended Sudan’s membership of the organization following the coup.