Sudan military tries to break up mass sit

Sudanese demonstrators gather near the military headquarters in the capital Khartoum on 14 April 2019

Sudan forces move to disperse Khartoum sit-in, protesters vow to remain

Omar al-Bashir was forced out of power in a military coup last week, after protests against his three-decade rule engulfed Sudan.

"The decision whether to extradite al-Bashir to the [International Criminal Court] will be made by a popularly elected government and not the transitional military council", he said at a press conference in Addis Ababa.

Sudan's new military ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan sacked the country's prosecutor-general on Tuesday, the military council said, after protesters demanded he be fired. Within this context, the Saudi and Emirati leadership will attempt to control, or at least heavily influence, Sudan's future landscape to ensure that elements on "friendly" terms with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi take the helm. These governments have interests in preserving a status quo authoritarian order in Khartoum that crushes any democratic movement.

"We will be willing to look at removing Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism if there is a significant change in the country and a smooth transition", the official said.

Sudan's uprising began in December as a series of protests against the rising costs of fuel and food, but soon shifted to calls for al-Bashir to step down.

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The State Department officials said any new government must demonstrate it is not "supporting acts of worldwide terrorism" and provide assurances "it will not support acts of global terrorism in the future".

Bashir was one of the longest-serving leaders in Africa and the Arab world.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt are determined to prevent the transition in Sudan from moving in a direction that would undermine their interests.

"It is time for the Transitional Military Council and all other parties to enter into an inclusive dialogue to effect a transition to civilian rule", the statement read. Burhan has pledged that individuals implicated in killing protesters would face justice and that demonstrators detained under a state of emergency imposed by Bashir during his final weeks in power would be freed.

The AU expressed "deep concern" over the military takeover and its impact, urging the Sudanese military to "refrain from any act or statement that would further complicate the situation in the country and negatively affect regional security and stability". Both have since had their membership restored.

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Ibn Auf had also called Sudan's participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen a year ago a "moral duty".

Sudan is part of a UAE- and Saudi-led military coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The odds are good that the Kingdom and the UAE will also put pressure on Khartoum to distance itself from Turkey.

In Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, officials have been concerned about Khartoum's growing ties with Turkey and Qatar in recent years. The anger that mobilized anti-regime activists over the past several months could easily turn against foreign governments with counter-revolutionary agendas in Sudan.

"A different statutory path to SST rescission may be available if there is a fundamental change in the leadership and policies of the government of Sudan", the US official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

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