The United States Wednesday named a special envoy to Sudan to find a “peaceful” solution between demonstrators and generals, as protest leaders demanded “international guarantees” for implementing any agremeent reached with the army rulers.
Shops and restaurants meanwhile began to reopen in Sudan’s capital Wednesday after demonstrators called off a nationwide civil disobedience campaign and agreed to new talks with generals, though many residents remained indoors after last week’s deadly crackdown on protesters that left dozens dead.
The apparent breakthrough in the standoff between the military rulers who toppled veteran leader Omar al-Bashir and protesters demanding civilian rule followed mediation led by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis — triggered by the June 3 crackdown on protesters — got a boost as Washington nominated experienced Africa hand Donald Booth as a special envoy to Sudan to help craft a “peaceful political solution” between the generals and protesters.
Booth, who previously has served as special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, was already in Khartoum along with Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Affairs Tibor Nagy to “engage with the parties,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.
This came after an Ethiopian envoy sent by Abiy announced on Tuesday that the protest leaders and the ruling military council had agreed to resume talks and that a three-day civil disobedience campaign was ending. The generals are still to offer comment.
Late on Wednesday protest leader Madani Abbas Madani told reporters that “any agreement (reached with generals) must have regional and international guarantees” for implementing it. He did not elaborate.
The two US officials are expected to hold several meetings with the generals, including General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, chief of the ruling military council, and protest leaders during their stay in Khartoum.
They are later scheduled to visit Addis Ababa to discuss the Sudan crisis with Ethiopian leaders and the African Union.
The African Union suspended Sudan’s membership on Thursday.
Negotiations collapsed last month because the two sides disagreed about whether a civilian or soldier should head a new governing body.