Sudan's military rulers urged parties to select 'independent' figure for PM

CAIRO-Sudanese political parties and movements behind almost four months of anti-government protests met with the country's military on Saturday, activists and the military said, holding the first talks since the army forced President Omar al-Bashir from power two days ago.

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

In a statement, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) urged all Sudanese parties to "pursue constructive dialogue with a view to maintaining peace and social cohesion in the country and achieving aspirations of the Sudanese people for a peaceful transfer of power".

Omer El-Digair, leader of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party, told the protests outside the military headquarters in Khartoum after Saturday's meeting that the atmosphere was "positive".

Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan was sworn in Friday as head of the transitional council.

Burhan, the new head of the council, has said the transition period will last for a maximum of two years.

A sit-in in the Sudanese capital, which began on April 6, was the culmination of a protest movement that began almost four months ago, triggered by a worsening economic crisis.

Burhan further vowed to "uproot" Bashir's regime and release protesters, in a bid to placate demonstrators demanding civilian rule.

UAE President Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan gave directives to communicate this to the Sudanese transitional military council.

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One of the alliance's leaders, Omar Al Degier, said the demands included restructuring the country's feared National Intelligence and Security Service, the chief of which, Salih Ghosh, resigned after Mr Al Bashir's removal.

He also ordered the release of all prisoners jailed by special emergency courts and the immediate lifting of a night-time curfew imposed by the council earlier this week.

Al-Burhan also pledged that individuals implicated in killing protesters will face justice and that protesters detained under a recent state of emergency will be freed.

"The Kingdom expresses its support for the steps announced by the transitional military council in preserving the lives and property".

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.

Protesters in Khartoum celebrated his departure.

Talks between protest leaders and the council were followed on Sunday by a meeting between Washington's top envoy to Khartoum, Steven Koutsis, and the military council's deputy leader, Mohammad Hamdan Daglo, widely known as Himeidti. A new Transitional Military Council was formed on April 13, after the people decisively rejected the initial military leadership who had a close association with the former regime. Most pressingly, the continuing peaceful protests must not be met with violence from any quarter.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation issued a statement describing the move as a "step forward reflecting the ambitions of the people of Sudan towards security, stability and development".

Riyadh also announced a package of humanitarian aid, including petroleum products, wheat and medicines.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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