International diplomacy complicit with the junta in Sudan

The UN, Western countries and oil monarchies are sparing no diplomatic efforts to establish a government in Sudan composed of civilians and military. By Paul Martial

They are going against the will of the population, which is continuing to shout in the streets the slogan “No negotiations, no partnership, no compromise” with the army.

Since 25 October, the date of the coup, the demonstrations have continued. The coup was organised by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Dogolo alias Hemidti, the leader of the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The army continues its repression operations. During the demonstration on Monday 17 January, seven demonstrators were mowed down by bullets. More than 70 people have been killed and at least a thousand injured since the coup. From now on, soldiers parade with heavy weapons, machine guns and anti-aircraft batteries in the streets of Khartoum.

A hand extended to the military

If the main Western capitals condemn the violence of the coup plotters against the population, they offer them a lifeline. Volker Perthes, a German diplomat and former UN envoy for Syria, with the success that we know, is the special envoy of Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General. He is trying to mediate between the junta and the popular organisations.

One remembers General Burhan’s manoeuvre of putting back in place Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, whom he had overthrown a few weeks earlier by imposing a new agreement particularly favourable to the army. The UN diplomat saw in this agreement “a step towards a comprehensive dialogue and a return to constitutional order”. He was the only one since even Hamdok resigned after about 40 days. Perthes considers that ’Sudan’s military and political leaders will first and foremost have to rebuild trust with their own national public, especially with the younger generation’ , thus putting the military and popular organisations, i.e. the murderers and the victims, on an equal footing. The aim of the UN diplomat is to open an indirect dialogue. The military seized this opportunity because their aim is to install a puppet civilian government behind which they will continue to exercise full power. To remain in power is to continue looting the country with impunity.

“Friends of Sudan” or friends of the junta?

Today, the informal structure “Friends of Sudan”, which includes the USA, the European Union, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, has given its support to Volker Perthes’ plan, which aims to perpetuate the army as a player in the country. This is precisely what the mobilized populations, who risk their lives daily, no longer want.

The “Friends of Sudan” are those who have financially strangled the country by demanding that the transitional government of Hamdok pay back the debts contracted by the dictatorship of the Muslim Brotherhood and Omar al-Bashir. This facilitated the work of the generals who were able to surf for a while on the deep discontent of the population to try to justify their coup de force.

Another proof of “friendship”, France, along with its other European partners, has financially helped the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which are only the avatar of the Janjaweed militias accused of crimes against humanity in Darfur. These same RSFs are at the forefront of the repression against the demonstrating populations.

Thus, from 2016 to 2017, nearly 160 million euros were paid to Sudan by the European Union to combat emigration. Omar al-Bashir has entrusted the guarding of the borders to the RSF. According to a report by the Dutch think tank Clingendael, part of the money financed this criminal militia, allowing it to better equip itself. The report states that the BSRs arrest migrants and most of them are sold to Libyan militias. They are enslaved or held as hostages. When their families have difficulty paying the ransom, they are tortured.

Our solidarity in France must be reinforced. Standing by the people of Sudan means demanding that the French government stop supporting the UN mediation, which goes against the will of the people. It also means demanding that medical supplies be sent directly to the hospitals to treat the many injured victims of the junta’s violence.

27 January 2022

Translated from l’Anticapitaliste and posted on International Viewpoint here.

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Paul Martial is a correspondent for International Viewpoint. He is editor of Afriques en Lutte and a member of the Fourth International in France.

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