Sudan army ruler says open to talks 'with no restriction'

Wednesday March 18 2020
Burhan

Sudanese supporters of the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) display a portrait of its head, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, with a caption below reading in Arabic "Al-Burhan, upon you is the trust", during a rally in Khartoum on May 31, 2019. PHOTO | ASHRAF SHAZLY | AFP

By AFP

KHARTOUM,

Sudan's military ruler General Abdel Fattah Burhan said Wednesday he was open to negotiations on the country's future a day after calling them off amid a bloody crackdown on protesters.

"We in the military council open our arms to negotiate with no restriction but the national interest to continue building a legitimate power that reflects the aspirations of the Sudanese revolution in every way," General Burhan said in a speech broadcast on state television.

Sixty people have been killed in a two-day crackdown on Sudanese protesters carried out by troops and paramilitaries, a doctors' committee close to the demonstrators said on Wednesday.

REGRET

A previous toll given by the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors had counted 40 dead since the bloody dispersal of a weeks-long sit-in outside army headquarters in Khartoum on Monday.

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"We regret the events," the General said in his speech on Wednesday.

Sudan's military ousted veteran President Omar al-Bashir in April after months of protests against his authoritarian rule and had agreed a three-year transition period to a civilian administration.

But Mr Burhan said after the crackdown that the agreement had been ditched and an election would take place within nine months -- a plan rejected by protest leaders.

They called on their supporters to take part in "total civil disobedience" to topple the military council.