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Burhan to Asharq Al-Awsat: We Have Thwarted a Number of Coup Attempts

Burhan to Asharq Al-Awsat: We Have Thwarted a Number of Coup Attempts

Monday, 8 July, 2019 - 12:00
The head of the Sudanese Transitional Military Council (TMC), Abdul Fattah al-Burhan (Photo: Yasser Haroun)
Khartoum- Ahmed Younes and Mohammed Amin Yassine
The head of the Sudanese Transitional Military Council (TMC), Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, said that the army thwarted many attempts to overthrow the government, the latest of which was on Sunday, adding that many rebels were arrested, without revealing their names.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, he noted that there were parties seeking to hamper the agreement with the forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change and to obstruct all efforts aimed at establishing stability in the country.

Burhan promised to work seriously towards the implementation of a genuine partnership with the forces of Declaration during the transitional period, stressing his council’s unwillingness to play any political role by the end of the transitional period.

Asked to recount the events of April 11, when the military announced the ousting of former President Omar al-Bashir, he said: “On the night of April 11, the military leadership met and decided to put an end to the ruling regime, taking into account the country’s economic distress and political confusion... The military leadership decided to look for a bright Sudanese future, which was evident in the demands and chants of the people.”

He continued: “The military leadership decided on the inevitability of change, and I was assigned to inform the former president. I went and informed him that the military leadership decided to put an end to his rule in response to the wishes of the masses and in order to preserve the security and unity of the country and the citizens’ lives.” Burhan asserted that Bashir accepted the orders without any objections.

The head of the TMC noted that change came at the request of the people, and was achieved through their will.

“We were hoping to manage a period of military transition without any other role… We wanted it to be a short transitional period, in which peace and security would be established, the Sudanese house would be reorganized from the inside, and elections involving all components would be arranged,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He added that the TMC and the forces of Declaration were confident that there was a third party seeking to undermine any agreement.

“We still believe that there are parties that do not want the best for Sudan,” he emphasized.

Burhan noted that investigations were underway to uncover the identity of those “putting obstacles to the dreams of the Sudanese youth.”

Commenting on complaints that the military council had not adequately held the symbols of the former regime accountable for their doings, the TMC chief said: “The military council has not faltered. It is not the body that brings people to trial. Prosecutors are the ones who initiate investigations and prosecute. This is one of the reasons that led us to dismiss the former Attorney-General because he was too late to bring those arrested in prison to trial.”

Asked whether regional forces contributed to change in Sudan, Al-Burhan replied: “The change was initiated by the Sudanese people, without any external interference.”

On the current relationship between the TMC and the forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change, Al-Burhan stressed that the two sides were now partners, “working with great confidence to take the country to a safety harbor.”

“But all the political forces must join us… to make this transitional period an important stage in order to lay the foundations of a better future for Sudan,” he affirmed.

Asked to explain the role of the Sovereign Council, Burhan clarified that during the transitional period, the legislation should be limited to the executive aspect only, stressing that all other legislation “that can be included in the permanent constitution should not be discussed now, including the status of regular forces, international conventions, natural resource and the partition of land and boundaries.”

“All these issues must be left to the elected parliament for consideration. The functioning of the executive authority and the civil service can be legislated by the Executive Council and approved by the Sovereign Council,” he underlined.

He also noted that an agreement between the TMC and the forces of the Declaration of Change was likely to be signed at the end of the current week, “after completion of the work of the legal committee concerned with drafting the relevant document and defining the structures of governance.”

Burhan told Asharq Al-Awsat that the army thwarted many attempts to overthrow the current government.

“Until today [Sunday] there were attempts to launch a coup,” he noted, adding that the ongoing investigations would reveal the identity of the plotters.

On the international community’s contribution to the change in Sudan, the TMC chief underlined its support for his country “from the beginning” of the protests, “both morally and financially”.

“All neighboring countries have stood by the Sudanese people, our friends in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt. Even China and Russia have provided aid to Sudan,” he remarked.

He went on to say that the Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia, have been supporting Sudan from the start of the process of change.

“We do not expect their support to be cut off, but it will increase,” Burhan stated.

On whether the current military council was aspiring to play a political role at a later stage, he replied: “We have asked from the start that those who took part in the transitional period do not participate in the next stage; we asked that it be written in the agreement, which we are about to sign.”

Asked if he was eager to run for the elections, Burhan answered: “Absolutely not; we have no desire to do so.”

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