Egyptian President urges Sudanese to speak out as he denies supporting coup

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has urged rival factions in Sudan to engage in talks to advance their transition to democracy after a coup toppled the civilian-led government.

The October 25 military takeover upended Sudan’s plans to move to democracy after three decades of international repression and sanctions under the autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

A popular uprising forced the army to overthrow Mr. al-Bashir and his Islamist government in April 2019.

Egypt fears that a prolonged standoff will further destabilize its southern neighbor.

More than 60 people have died in the protests (AP Photo / Marwan Ali)

After the coup, some Sudanese opposition leaders, including former foreign minister Mariam al-Mahdi, suspected that Egypt had given the green light to Sudanese military leader General Abdel-Fattah Burhan , to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

After the coup, Egypt clearly failed to sign a joint declaration with the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates calling on the Sudanese military to restore the government led by civilians.

Speaking at a press conference at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Wednesday, Mr el-Sisi denied siding with either side in Sudan.

He insisted that his government did not interfere in the internal affairs of another country.

The Egyptian leader called on the Sudanese parties to agree on a road map to stabilize the country and hold elections at the end of the transition.

“The situation in Sudan needs a political consensus among all existing forces, so that this can be a way out of the current crisis,” he said.

Former Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok (AP Photo / Christophe Ena, Pool, File)

The military takeover has plunged Sudan into political stalemate and relentless street protests that have left more than 60 people dead since October 25.

Protesters want an all-civilian government to rule the nation, while the military says it would only cede power to an elected administration.

The unrest escalated earlier this month following the resignation of besieged Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok after he failed to reach a compromise between the military and the pro-democracy movement.

Mr. Hamdok was dismissed from his post during the coup and reinstated in November under a deal with the military.

The agreement sidelined the pro-democracy movement, which mobilized the street protests. Protest groups are planning mass protests across the country on Thursday to put pressure on the military.

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