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Guterres calls again for detained leaders’ release after Sudan coup

UN Secretary-General António Guterres (file photo).
UN Photo/Violaine Martin
UN Secretary-General António Guterres (file photo).

Guterres calls again for detained leaders’ release after Sudan coup

Peace and Security

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday renewed his call for the immediate release of all those detained in the military coup in Sudan, as the Security Council meets behind closed doors in New York to discuss the crisis. 

Pro-democracy demonstrations continued in the country’s capital, Khartoum, one day after the army dissolved the transitional government and detained civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and his cabinet. 

Appeal for restraint 

“I once again strongly condemned the forceful military takeover of power in Sudan,” said Mr. Guterres, responding to a journalist’s question during a press conference at UN Headquarters on Tuesday morning.  

“I urge of course all stakeholders to exercise maximum restraint, but the Prime Minister and other officials that were unlawfully detained must be released immediately.” 

Military and civilian leaders had been sharing power in Sudan, which has been on the path to democratic transition in the wake of the April 2019 overthrow of former President Omar al-Bashir, who had ruled for 30 years. 

Preserve ‘important milestones’ 

The UN chief said it was true that Sudan had achieved “important milestones”, and these cannot be reversed. 

“And so, it is essential that all transitional arrangements and institutions as defined in the constitutional document be reinstated.  A civilian-military partnership is critical. It needs to be reestablished at the level at which it was established. I think the Sudanese people have shown very clearly their intense desire for reform and democracy,” he said. 

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said ambassadors meeting behind closed doors in the Security Council on Tuesday afternoon were due to be briefed by Volker Perthes, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan and head of UNITAMS, the UN mission in the country which is assisting the political transition.   

“The UN Mission in Sudan continues to encourage all of the parties to de-escalate tensions, maintain the constitutional partnership, and advance the political transition under the provisions of the Constitutional Document,” said Mr. Dujarric, speaking during his daily press briefing in New York. 

Aid operations ‘critical’ 

Meanwhile, the UN continues to work with partners to provide life-saving support to nine million vulnerable people across Sudan. 

“It is critical that these operations continue unimpeded to prevent a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation, and that people’s access to humanitarian assistance is ensured wherever they are, including access to medical facilities,” said Mr. Dujarric. 

This year, humanitarians have been seeking $1.9 billion for Sudan, but their appeal is only 30 per cent funded. 

Aid agencies reached 7.4 million people across the country with protection and humanitarian assistance, during the period from January to June.