Sudan awaits civilian govt

Protesters present demands to military in talks

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A woman takes a photograph with her smarphone of a billboard showing a reproduction of a picture of Alaa Salah, a Sudanese woman who has become an icon of the protest movement after a video of her leading demonstrators' chants went viral, in the capital Khartoum. — AFP

Khartoum — Sudanese protest organizers have presented demands to the country's new military rulers, urging the creation of a civilian government, the group spearheading demonstrations said.

Thousands remained encamped outside Khartoum's army headquarters overnight to keep up the pressure on a military council that took power after ousting veteran leader Omar Al-Bashir on Thursday.

A 10-member delegation representing the protesters delivered their demands during talks with the council late Saturday, according to a statement by the Alliance for Freedom and Change umbrella group.

"We will continue... our sit-in until all our demands are met," including the formation of a fully civilian government, said one of the alliance's leaders, Omar al-Degier.

The group insists on civilian representatives joining the military council and on the creation of a fully civilian government to run day-to-day affairs.

"We surely want our demands to be met, but both sides will have to be flexible to reach a deal," said a demonstrator who spent the night at the army complex.

Talks between protest leaders and Sudan's new rulers were followed Sunday by a meeting between Washington's top envoy to Khartoum, Steven Koutsis, and the military council's deputy.

Mohammad Hamdan Daglo, widely known as Himeidti, told Koutsis "about the measures taken by the military council to preserve the security and stability of the country," the official SUNA news agency reported.

Himeidti is a field commander for the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) counter-insurgency unit, which rights groups have accused of abuses in the war-torn Darfur region.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE voiced backing for the transitional council.

Saudi Arabia has promised an aid package, the Saudi Press Agency reported Saturday.

Meanwhile, Sudan's foreign ministry on Sunday urged the international community to back the country's new military rulers to help "democratic transition".

"The ministry of foreign affairs is looking forward to the international community to understand the situation and to support the transitional military council ... in order to achieve the Sudanese goal of democratic transition," the ministry said in a statement.

"The steps taken by the army on Thursday, April 11, take the side of the people for the sake of freedom, peace and justice," the ministry said. — Agencies


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