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African Union extends deadline for Sudanese military to relinquish state power

By
Darryl Coote
Leaders of the African Union in Cairo, Egypt, extended their organization's original 15-day deadline on the ruling Sudanese Transitional Military Council to relinquish power to its public. Photo courtesy of African Union Commission
Leaders of the African Union in Cairo, Egypt, extended their organization's original 15-day deadline on the ruling Sudanese Transitional Military Council to relinquish power to its public. Photo courtesy of African Union Commission

April 24 (UPI) -- The African Union gave the Sudanese military three months to hand over power of the country to civil society or be suspended from the regional organ, altering its original 15-day ultimatum.

African Union leaders in Egypt Tuesday gave Sudan's ruling Transitional Military Council a further three months to relinquish power, extending the two-week deal the Peace and Security of the African Union Council had given the military on April 15.

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In a joint statement, the leaders of Egypt, Chard Djibouti, Somalia, South Arica, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Sudan and Uganda said they recognized more time was needed.

"The participating countries recognize the need to give more time to the Sudanese authorities and the Sudanese parties to implement these measures, taking into consideration that they will not be lengthy, and recommended that the African Peace and Security Council extend the schedule given the Sudanese authority for three months," the leaders jointly said in the statement.

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The Transitional Military Council had previously said it would require two years before it could release the country's reins, which prompted the regional organ's peace and security arm April 15 to give its 15-day deadline, stating it "strongly condemns and totally rejects the seizure of power by the Sudanese military and its plan to lead the transition for two years."

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The Transitional Military Council gained control of Sudan April 11, after it overthrew the country's 30-year leader, Omar al-Bashir, in a coup.

Protesters, who urged the military from December to topple the government, have vowed to continue demonstrations out front of army headquarters in the capital Khartoum until the military hands power to the opposition Declaration of Freedom and Change.

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The relationship between opposition and ruling forces has been souring since the coup. On Monday, the Declaration of Freedom and Change cut communication with the Transitional Military Council as the ruling power would not recognize it as the voice of the public while considering other forces as potential leaders of a future transitional government.

The opposition views the stance by the military as an attempt to put the old guard back at the helm of the country.

Meanwhile, the military demanded Tuesday for protesters to stop hindering citizens' movement and traffic.

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On Tuesday, the African Union leaders stressed the two forces need to come together in good faith to fix the current situation, while emphasizing the dialogue should be controlled by all Sudanese, including the military and protesters.

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