UAE's Mohammed bin Zayed backs Sudan's military rulers

UAE's Mohammed bin Zayed backs Sudan's military rulers
3 min read
27 May, 2019
Sudan's military ruler Abdel Fattah al-Burhan met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed on Sunday, who pledged support for 'preserving Sudan's security and stability;.
The meeting followed visits to Saudi Arabia and Egypt [Twitter]

The leader of Sudan's ruling generals met with the UAE's de-facto ruler on Sunday, who reiterated Abu Dhabi's support for the military as negotiations with civilians falter, state media reported.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed affirmed the UAE's support for "preserving Sudan's security and stability", Emirati state news agency WAM reported.

Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan's visit to Abu Dhabi followed the leader's meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo and a visit by his deputy Mohammed Hamdan Daglo to Saudi Arabia.

Protesters on the streets of Sudan have repeatedly warned against intervention by regional allies Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.

Analysts say support pledged by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt for Khartoum's military rulers echoes Sisi's rise to power in the wake of the Egyptian revolution, when he served as a defence minister.

Daglo, widely known by his nickname Himedti, met with Saudi de-facto ruler and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Jeddah on Friday.

Sudan's deputy leader used the opportunity to declare Khartoum's support for Saudi Arabia in the face of "threats and attacks from
Iran and Houthi militias".

In his meeting with Burhan, Bin Zayed called for a national dialogue in Sudan towards "peaceful political transition".

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have jointly pledged $3 billion in financial and material aid to Khartoum since the military seized power from former President Omar al-Bashir, with ties between Sudan's military and the Gulf powers already strong due to Khartoum's participation in the Saudi-led coalition war on Yemen.

Such funds could be a vital lifeline for a country beset by economic crises for more than a decade, but critics of the military say Gulf aid could be aimed at strengthening the generals' grip on power rather than improving the dire problems faced by Sudanese.

Leading protest organisers the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) met for the first time with the Saudi ambassador to Khartoum on Sunday.

The SPA, which has been involved in contentious stop-start negotiations with the military for weeks over the country's transition to civilian rule, said it called on Riyadh to support a democratic transition.

Opposition umbrella group and civilian negotiating body the Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC), of which the SPA is a part, on Friday called for a general strike as talks with the military came to a halt last week.

While the two sides have agreed to extend the country's transitional period from two to three years, create a civilian legislative body, and form a new joint civilian-military transitional council, they are at odds over its composition, with protesters calling for a civilian-majority council with a civilian leader and the generals demanding a military-led body.

The two-day strike is set to begin on Tuesday.