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Sudan Military, Opposition Agree To Lead Transition From Autocratic Rule: Claims Sources

The military council has previously suggested that Bashir would be tried in Sudan, where the public prosecutor has begun investigating him, according to a judicial source.

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Sudanese protesters arrive to join the sit-in outside the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum, April 27, 2019. VOA

Sudan’s military rulers and opposition agreed in principle Saturday to the formation of a joint body to lead a transition from 30 years of autocratic rule by Omar al-Bashir, but not on the new council’s makeup, two sources said.

The two sides were holding their first formal discussions as opposition groups and protesters push for a rapid handover to civilian rule following Bashir’s fall earlier this month.

Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC), which ousted and arrested Bashir after months of protests, has said it will rule for up to two years ahead of elections.

Anti-Bashir opposition groups and protesters who have kept up a sit-in outside the Defense Ministry want a civilian-led transitional council with military representation.

They continued their thousands-strong demonstration Saturday evening.

Sudanese protesters gather under a tent to protect themselves from the sun as they sit-in outside the defense ministry compound in Khartoum, Sudan, April 25, 2019.
Sudanese protesters gather under a tent to protect themselves from the sun as they sit-in outside the defense ministry compound in Khartoum, Sudan, April 25, 2019.VOA

“I came to support the sit-in for a civilian government because the army ruled Sudan since 52 years ago and the result is nothing,” said Nour el-Dayem Gaafar, a 23-year-old student from South Darfur state who had traveled by bus to the capital.

Opposition groups and activists are represented by an umbrella group called the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces, which held two meetings with the TMC Saturday. Both sides expressed optimism after an initial session around the middle of the day.

After a second, evening session, the sources said there was agreement over the formation of a joint council, but not over how many seats either side should have.

The TMC has arrested some former officials, announced anti-corruption measures and promised to give executive authority to a civilian government. But it has signaled that ultimate authority would remain in its hands, leaving protesters frustrated.

Members of the Sudanese military sit atop a pickup as protesters rally outside the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum, April 27, 2019.
Members of the Sudanese military sit atop a pickup as protesters rally outside the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum, April 27, 2019. VOA

‘Half a revolution’

“Half a revolution is the perishing of a nation,” said Osman Abadi, a 26-year-old sit-in security supervisor draped in a Sudanese flag, who said he was staying even if negotiations between TMC and the opposition failed.

Bashir was overthrown after 16 weeks of protests triggered by a deepening economic crisis. He is being held along with other former officials at Khartoum’s Kobar prison.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted Bashir for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, charges he denies.

On Saturday Sadiq al-Mahdi, the veteran leader of Sudan’s opposition Umma Party, which is part of the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces, said he thought Sudan should join the court.

“Now I have no objection to responding to its demands, and it’s necessary immediately to join (the ICC), but this position has to be coordinated with the military council,” Mahdi told reporters.

The military council has previously suggested that Bashir would be tried in Sudan, where the public prosecutor has begun investigating him, according to a judicial source.

Raid condemned

Separately, the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces condemned a reported raid on a meeting of the Popular Congress Party, which was allied to Bashir before turning against him.

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The alliance said in a statement that though the party bore responsibility for what had happened over the past 30 years, there was “no place for the exclusion of rights by force in the nation that our fearless revolutionaries are working to promote.”

State TV reported that more than 140 people were evacuated from the hall where the meeting took place and more than 60 had suffered minor injuries. (VOA)

Next Story

Hong Kong Government Lower Expectations From Its Economy’s Growth

Hong Kong reduces economic growth forecasts for this year

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Hong Kong growth might hit anywhere between 0 to 1 per cent due to protests. Pixabay

The Hong Kong government lowered its economic growth expectations on Thursday and estimated that the city’s Gross Domestic Product will grow between zero to one per cent in 2019 due to “strong economic headwinds”.

“If growth does hit 0 to 1 per cent, this will be the worst situation we have faced since 2009,” Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said in a press conference without directly referring to the protests as a cause.

“If Hong Kong’s economy grows in the third quarter at a similar pace to the second, the city will be technically in a recession,” he was quoted as saying by Efe news.

The technical recession would mean that the local GDP would have contracted for two consecutive quarters.

The data shows that during the first quarter, Hong Kong’s economy grew by 1.3 per cent, while in the April-June period it contracted by 0.3 per cent.

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‘Worst situation we have faced since 2009, says Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po . Pixabay

Chan also announced on Thursday a number of measures that are not officially intended to resolve the political crisis facing the Hong Kong administration but to take precautions in the face of the coming bad economic times.

The measures included a “mini-budget” valued at 19.1 billion Hong Kong dollars ($2.44 billion).

According to the South China Morning Post, the measures also included increasing loan guarantees for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as lowering rents for hospitality businesses.

The British consultancy company, Capital Economics, predicted the protests’ economic impact could cause a contraction of one per cent in the third quarter, ending the year with an annual growth of 0.5 per cent.

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Hong Kong’s economy grew by only 1.3 per cent in the April-June period. Pixabay

According to Capital Economics, the most affected sector would be tourism, which contributes to around four per cent of the total GDP.

Hong Kong is witnessing the 11th consecutive week of demonstrations that erupted in June, sparked by the government’s controversial extradition bill that was later shelved by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam after intense popular pressure.

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The controversy surrounding the now-defunct extradition bill, which would have enabled fugitives to be transferred from Hong Kong to mainland China to stand trial under the latter’s opaque legal system, has morphed into a set of wider demands for democracy in the ex-British colony.

Hong Kong’s economy would face a severe contraction that could threaten the strength of the Hong Kong dollar if the protests continued or, in the extreme case, the Chinese Army intervened, Capital Economics warned. (IANS)