“The Transitional Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change have today initialled a political agreement on the formation of the structures and institutions of governance in the transition period. This is a further positive step. The continued efforts of the African Union/Ethiopian mediation played an important role in this achievement.”
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Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland Pekka Haavisto will visit Sudan and several countries of the Red Sea and broader region over the course of the next weeks to discuss the situation in Sudan. He has received a mandate from the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini to reach out, on behalf of the European Union, on both the situation in the country and on how the international community can accompany Sudan on its transition path.
During his visits, Minister Haavisto will convey the European Union’s position on Sudan as agreed by the Foreign Affairs Council of 17 June to the different authorities and stakeholders and will then report to the 28 Member States in the Foreign Affairs Council upon his return.
The Minister’s visit to Sudan as well as Ethiopia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates follows the recent announcement of an agreement between the Transitional Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change on a civilian-led transition in Sudan.
“The European Union remains fully engaged on the situation in Sudan, standing by the Sudanese parties who reached an agreement as well as calling on regional and international actors to play a constructive role in this context. Thanks to his experience in the region, in particular in Sudan with both the EU and the UN, Minister Haavisto will explore how the EU can best support Sudan in its path towards democracy, respect for human rights and stability,” said Federica Mogherini.
“This visit comes at an important juncture; an agreement has been reached between the Transitional Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change in Sudan. I wish to sincerely thank the African Union/Ethiopian mediation for their efforts. I will convey EU’s strong messages of support and encourage both sides to continue negotiations in order to solve the still outstanding issues and allow for a swift transfer of power to a civilian government. It is crucial to quickly restore peace, guarantee prosperity, economic recovery, security, democracy and respect of human rights,” said Pekka Haavisto.
On July, 10 Minister Haavisto will be in Addis Abeba meeting Ethiopian authorities as well as the key figures of the African Union. On 11 July, the Minister will meet both the Transitional Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change as well as other Sudanese interlocutors. On 16-18 July, Minister Haavisto will visit Egypt, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
Minister Haavisto has extensive knowledge on Sudan having been the EU Special Representative for Sudan and Darfur in 2005-2007 as well as the Special Advisor for the UN Assistant Secretary-General in Darfur Peace Process in 2007.
Sudan’s main opposition coalition confirmed it had received a draft agreement from an Ethiopian mediator and had agreed to all of its points defining the country’s governmental structure for the transitional period.
Babikr Faisal, a spokesman for the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition, gave no details on the contents of the agreement.
“Our acceptance of the Ethiopian mediation proposal pushes all the parties to face their responsibilities toward continuing to effort a political solution,” the coalition later said in a statement.
“Therefore we demand that the document be approved by the military council in order to move the situation in Sudan (forward).”
“Over the past six months the people of Sudan, with the strong participation of women and youth, have clearly and bravely demanded a new path for their country, one of democracy, political plurality, security and prosperity. This represents a historic opportunity for Sudan. A peaceful, united, democratic and prosperous Sudan remains crucial, including for the peace and stability of the region, and is a priority for the European Union” the statement of the EU Foreign Ministers Council reads.
“The EU firmly condemns the violent attacks in Sudan on 3 June 2019, which resulted in the killing and injuring of many peaceful civilian protesters, as well as sexual and gender-based violence. It is clear that the responsibility lies with the Transitional Military Council (TMC) as the authority in charge of protecting the population. All human rights violations and abuses committed must be investigated in an independent and transparent manner, and perpetrators held accountable for their acts.
The EU calls for an immediate cessation of all violence against the Sudanese people, including extrajudicial, arbitrary and summary killings, beatings and sexual and gender-based violence, arrests and disappearances. It is the duty of the TMC to ensure the safety of all in Sudan. Members of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) and other civilians that have been arrested and detained during recent events must be immediately released. Restrictions placed on freedom of assembly, freedom of the media, civic space and access to the internet must also be lifted.
The EU remains deeply concerned by the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Sudan, and remains committed to help addressing the needs of the population. Obstacles to the timely delivery of the humanitarian assistance need to be removed immediately, including in Khartoum. Staff and supplies need to be brought in urgently to provide humanitarian assistance to more than 8 million people in need. Attacks against hospitals, medical staff and patients must stop. Respect of international humanitarian law and protection of civilians must be ensured, including safe and unhindered humanitarian access.
The EU supports the call of the African Union (AU) for the establishment of a civilian-led transitional authority. To that end, the EU calls for the immediate resumption of negotiations between the TMC and the FFC, based on agreements reached so far. The EU also calls on the TMC to implement the required confidence-building measures, on the FFC to respond accordingly, and on both parties to refrain from unilateral moves.
The EU supports the leadership role of the AU and the mediation efforts led by the AU envoy to help to move the political transition process forward, in cooperation with Ethiopia, IGAD Chair. The EU commends the role of Ethiopia in facilitating the resumption of the talks. The EU also commends the decision of the AU’s Peace and Security Council to suspend Sudan from participation in all AU activities until the effective establishment of a civilian-led transition authority, including the announcement that AU punitive measures would be applied if transition to such an authority is obstructed. The EU further calls on other regional and international actors to play a constructive and coordinated role in support of the leadership of the AU on this basis and stands ready to work with international partners in that regard.
The aspirations of the Sudanese people can only be met through an orderly, peaceful, inclusive and civilian-led transition that establishes the conditions for the return to constitutional order and democratic rule through transparent and credible elections, and full respect of human rights. The EU seizes this opportunity to recall the obligation of Sudan to cooperate with the International Criminal Court pursuant to the UNSC Resolution 1593.A civilian-led transitional authority is the only partner with which EU-Sudan relations can be normalised. When Sudan embarks on a transition to civilian rule, the EU looks forward to supporting the country in tackling the social, economic and political challenges and implementing the necessary reforms, and will provide assistance accordingly.”
The Foreign ministers Council today discussed the situation in Sudan and adopted the statement above.
Sudan’s chief prosecutor announced that ousted President Omar al-Bashir would be sent for trial soon on corruption charges related to his three decades in power.
Alwaleed Sayed Ahmed Mahmoud declared at news conference the trial referral would be made after a one-week period for objections expires, adding that criminal cases have been opened against 41 other former officials accused of graft.
Charged with corruption after an investigation was completed, as the prosecutor’s office underlined, Bashir, was ousted by the military in April this year following months of protests against his three decades autocratic rule.
“The use of violence today against protesters and other civilians has led to deplorable loss of life. We express our condolences to the families and friends of the victims”, said European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson (pictured) in a statement, commenting outbreak of violence in Khartoum on June 3.
“There is no justification for the use of force to disperse the peaceful sit-in. The Transitional Military Council is accountable for security and rule of law in the country, and have the responsibility to act with restraint.
“We expect the Transitional Military Council to respect the right of people to voice peacefully their concerns, without any threat or use of violence. Any escalation of the use of violence can only derail the necessary political process and lead to a dangerous impasse, that will not respond to the legitimate aspirations of the people of Sudan.
“The priority should remain to find a swift consensus that allows a transfer of power to a civilian-led authority, as also prescribed by the African Union. Such an authority is the only partner with which EU-Sudan relations can be normalised.”
Sudanese security forces stormed a protest camp in the capital Khartoum on June 3 in the morning hours and at least nine people were reported killed in the violence outbreak.
Al Hadath and Al Jazeera television showed footage of scenes of people fleeing violence through streets of Khartoum.
The leading protest group accused the ruling military Council of an attempt to break up the camp, defining the action “a massacre”. The Council explained the security forces had targeted “unruly” groups in an adjacent area.
An alliance of protest and opposition groups announced they would halt all contact with the military Council. The two sides had been negotiating for weeks a transitional period following the overthrow of Omar Al Bashir, but without any progress.
The Transitional Military Council (TMC) had offered to let protesters form a governmental body but insists on maintaining overall authority during an interim period. The demonstrators demand the civilians to run the transitional period to ensure construction of democratic state.
After the outbreak of violence a group of medics related to the opposition said nine “martyrs” had been killed in June 3 violence and that the number of casualties was still rising.