UN calls on Sudan's military to restore civilian-led govt

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UN calls on Sudan's military to restore civilian-led govt
© – Sudanese youths confront security forces amid demonstrations against a military takeover this week

The UN Security Council called Thursday on Sudan’s new military rulers to restore the civilian-led government that they toppled this week.

The council passed unanimously a statement that expressed “serious concern” about the coup Monday in the poverty-stricken African nation which has enjoyed only rare periods of democracy since gaining independence in 1956.

The council called for the immediate release of all those detained by the military authorities and urged “all stakeholders to engage in dialogue without pre-conditions.”

The British-drafted statement is the product of days of laborious talks among council members and was watered down under pressure from Russia. The council met in an urgent session Tuesday after the putsch.

The statement expresses concern over the “suspension of some transitional institutions, the declaration of a state of emergency” and the detention of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. He was taken Monday by the military and is now under guard at his home, where he was moved after an international outcry. Other ministers remain under full military arrest, however.

One diplomat said that, at the insistence of China, the text notes explicitly that Hamdok did return home on Tuesday evening. But the UN maintains that it considers him as being denied freedom of movement.

The discussions among the Security Council members came against a backdrop of a renewed struggle between Western nations and Russia for influence in Sudan.

A first draft statement floated early this week condemned the coup “in the strongest terms” but this wording was eventually dropped.

In the version that was ultimately adopted, the council “called upon all parties to exercise the utmost restraint, refrain from the use of violence and emphasized the importance of full respect for human rights, including the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.”

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