UN Security Council to discuss Sudan as three protesters killed

The U.N. Security Council has scheduled an emergency closed-door meeting on the coup in Sudan for Tuesday.

Diplomats said late Monday that the consultations were requested by the United States, United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Norway and Estonia.

The meeting has been scheduled for 4 p.m. EDT (22:00 CET), the diplomats said ahead of an official announcement.

Sudan’s military seized power Monday, arresting Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other officials of the transitional government, sparking protests by thousands of demonstrators across the country demanding a return to civilian rule.

At least three protesters were killed after security forces opened fire, according to the Sudan Doctor’s Committee, and a further 80 were wounded.

The takeover threatened the country’s shaky progress toward democracy and comes more than two years after protesters forced the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and just weeks before the military was supposed to hand the leadership of the council that runs the country over to civilians.

Washington is suspending $700 million (€603 million) in emergency assistance to Sudan following the coup.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the full amount of the aid package had been put on “pause” pending a review of the developments in Khartoum. The money, which was direct financial support, was intended to help the country transition to a fully civilian government. Price said additional U.S. assistance could also be affected.

The administration condemned the military takeover and dissolution of a transitional civilian-led authority and demanded the release of all officials detained in the overnight coup, which led to the arrest of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. Price said the administration was watching developments “very closely” and “will not hesitate” to hold those responsible for the coup to account.

The European Union and several member states have also called for those “unlawfully detained” with the bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, saying in a statement that “the actions of the military represent a betrayal of the revolution, the transition, and the legitimate requests of the Sudanese people for peace, justice and economic development.”

The head of the military, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, announced on national TV that he was dissolving the government and the Sovereign Council, a joint military and civilian body created soon after al-Bashir’s ouster to run the country.

Burhan said quarrels among political factions prompted the military intervention. Tensions have been rising for weeks over the course and the pace of the transition to democracy in Sudan, a nation in Africa linked by language and culture to the Arab world.

The general declared a state of emergency and said the military will appoint a technocratic government to lead the country to elections, set for July 2023. But he made clear the military will remain in charge.

“The Armed Forces will continue completing the democratic transition until the handover of the country’s leadership to a civilian, elected government,” he said. He added that the constitution would be rewritten and a legislative body would be formed with the participation of “young men and women who made this revolution.”

The Information Ministry, still loyal to the dissolved government, called his speech an “announcement of a seizure of power by military coup.”

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