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Sudan protesters agree to direct talks with army rulers

Sudan's protest leaders Wednesday agreed to hold direct talks with the ruling generals. [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 July, 2019

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The African Union and Ethiopia have mediated between the two sides after tensions soared following a deadly crackdown on a weeks-long sit-in last month that killed dozens of demonstrators.

Sudan's protest leaders Wednesday agreed to hold direct talks with the ruling generals after African Union and Ethiopian mediators urged the two sides to resume stalled negotiations about a new governing body.

"The Alliance for Freedom and Change met and decided to accept the invitation for direct negotiations" with the generals, prominent protest leader Madani Abbas Madani told reporters.

One of the conditions for the talks was to reach a decision "within 72 hours", he said.

The African Union and Ethiopia have mediated between the two sides after tensions soared following a deadly crackdown on a weeks-long sit-in last month that killed dozens of demonstrators and wounded hundreds.

At least 136 people have been killed across the country since the raid, including more than 100 on 3 June, according to doctors close to the umbrella protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change.

Talks between the two rival groups had collapsed in May over the make-up of the governing body and who should lead it - a civilian or soldier.

Tensions further soared after the 3 June raid on the protest camp, after which the African Union and Ethiopia launched efforts to bring the two groups to the negotiating table.

On Tuesday, the mediators called on both groups to resume talks on Wednesday, but it was still unclear if the negotiations would resume on that day.

The ruling military council that seized power after the army's ouster of long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir has still not responded to the call for talks made by the mediators to resume talks.

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