Sudan's army ruler vows to hand 'power to the people'

  21 April 2019    Read: 1237

Sudan's military leader vowed Sunday the army was committed to handing power to the people, as a protesters' deadline for unveiling a rival civilian council loomed, AFP reported. 

New army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan also pledged to respond to demonstrators' demands within a week.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates meanwhile offered $3 billion in financial aid to cash-starved Sudan.

The northeast African nation is one of the world's most impoverished countries and faces an acute foreign currency shortage -- a key factor which helped trigger nationwide protests against longtime leader Omar al-Bashir.

Bashir was ousted on April 11 after three decades of iron-fisted rule, when the military deposed him bowing to weeks of mass protests which began in mid-December.

A military council has been put in place for a planned two-year transition period, but despite talks with protesters the two sides have struggled to agree on the shape and form of a civilian leadership.

"The council is committed to give power to (the) people," Burhan insisted, in his first interview on state television since taking power.

He also said that a delegation would travel to Washington soon to seek Sudan's removal from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), at the forefront of the campaign, has defiantly said it will unveil its own civilian council later Sunday, and thousands have gathered outside the army headquarters in Khartoum ahead of the 1700 GMT announcement.

"We are waiting for the announcement today," Romaysaa Omar, one of the protesters at the sit-in area, told AFP.

"All Sudanese people are in favour of the council to be announced by the SPA."

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