Panafrican News Agency

Tripartite process kicks off to end Sudanese political impasse

Khartoum, Sudan  (PANA) - A much awaited process to end the Sudanese political stalemate finally kicked off in Khartoum on Thursday, following eight months of malfunctioning government.

The process facilitated by the African Union, IGAD and the UN has been dubbed “indirect intra-Sudanese Talks” because the three mighty regional and international originations have failed to bring the different Sudanese stakeholders to sit around one table and discuss their differences face to face, the gap is apparently so huge.

“Today, the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (GAD) and the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) launched indirect intra-Sudanese Talks launched”, a statement issued by UNITAMS, said on Thursday.

The sessions, according to the press release sent to PANA, have separately hosted Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC- National Consensus Charter) in the morning; followed by Forces of Freedom and Change (Central Committee), and lastly with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

The trilateral mechanism said they were optimistic about progress, in view of the positive discussions in today's meetings. They expressed hope that these talks would facilitate a Sudanese parties' agreement on a formulation that ends the current political crisis.

The statement stressed that “while the trilateral mechanism recognizes significant steps, it continues to urge on the importance to create by all means a conducive environment for the success of the talks.

As announced earlier this week, these talks are initially being held in an indirect format

Early this week, the United States administration issued a statement in which it said Washington reiterated its strong support for the combined efforts of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), the African Union (AU), and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to facilitate a political process to restore a civilian-led transition to democracy in Sudan. 

“We welcome the outreach and progress made to date,” the U S state Department said in a statement early in the week.

The statement underlined that as the process moves forward and the facilitators begin conversations with stakeholders on the substance of a solution, the US are convinced that the UNITAMS-AU-IGAD facilitated process is the most inclusive mechanism to achieve an urgently needed agreement on a civilian-led transitional framework.

“We continue to encourage all Sudanese civilian and military actors to utilize this process to achieve democratic progress and national stability,” it stressed.

The state Department statement has pointed out that in recent phone calls with Sudanese civilian and military leaders, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Molly Phee welcomed the release of political detainees in the past few weeks. 

The US official was referring to the detention and arrests of several figures with the government of outgoing Prime Minister Dr Abdullah Hamdouk some of whom were accused of squandering public money, others with abuse of power.

The military components within the hybrid government are adamant that there was political issue involved in the arrest of those officials of whom over 40 were released after the payment of exuberantly huge bails.

Still, the Americans were keen to express their satisfaction that such a release has taken place to create a conducive environment for the kick-off of this process.

The release said the US official had at the same time, pressed for the full implementation of promised confidence-building measure by the Sudanese military including lifting the state of emergency and the release of the remaining political detainees. 

Observers note that far from lifting the state of emergency, the army has taken a further draconian measure of giving the army free hand to move in and quash any unruly militia, armed or banditry activities in Khartoum and all over the country.

The civilians, mostly left wing political forces, have stayed away from the government following 25 October 2021; military intervention that dissolved the cabinet let by Hamdouk and announced in place a care taker cabinet, pending the outcome of a political process that would bring back the country to the track of civilian led administration.

These political parties and forces, mostly not including the right and the traditional political parties , viewed the October 25th as a mere coup d’état notwithstanding the military calling it a move aimed to bring back to track a derailed government.

These political forces are adamant that they would have nothing to do with the military, let alone sit down and talk with them about any future process. It was clear, observers argued, that without the military participation, the process would go nowhere.

The American officially, clearly aware of the situation has “stressed the need for all stakeholders to participate constructively in the UNITAMS-AU-IGAD facilitated process and to make rapid progress on the framework for a civilian transitional government".

However, the statement added, the US official has underscored the need for the military to transfer power to a civilian government established under such a framework to enable the resumption of international financial support and development assistance.

-0-PANA MO/RA 12May2022