© Reuters FILE PHOTO – Sudanese President Abdul Fattah al-Burhan addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, September 22, 2022. REUTERS/Mike Segar
By Daphne Psaledakis
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Sudan’s ruling council leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, told Reuters on Thursday that no date had been set for elections, but the military would not wait forever.
Burhan, who disrupted the political transition by toppling the civilian-led government 11 months ago, had suggested that elections would be held in 2023.
His takeover ended a power-sharing agreement between the military and civilians, led to mass street protests and clashes between the military and pro-democracy parties.
After the controversy worsened, Burhan said in July that the army would stay away from political talks.
“We are waiting, we don’t want to involve ourselves in this political process,” Burhan said in an interview at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “We certainly don’t wait constantly,” he added.
The opposition blames Burhan for advancing the transition to democracy and opening up the economy after the ouster of former leader Omar al-Bashir in a 2019 uprising.
The military leadership said it took power after a political tussle between civilian parties, but the move drew sharp condemnation from Western powers and announced the freeze of billions of dollars in international aid.
“If it was up to us, we would have completed the transition mission now, but we have asked the civil forces and the regional and international community to stop it,” Burhan said when asked about the election date.
Burhan pointed out that his deputy General Mohammad Hamdan Dagalo’s recent statement that civilians should be named as the future prime minister and head of the ruling sovereign council is in line with what he himself said earlier.
Burhan said that there is an agreement to establish a Russian military base on the coast of Red Sea in Sudan and said that the two countries have normal relations.
He recently denied the report that Sudanese gold is being exported to Russia and said that only certain entities are responsible for exporting it.