Pro-democracy protesters unimpressed as Ethiopia PM visits Sudan for 'mediation' following Eid eve massacre

Pro-democracy protesters unimpressed as Ethiopia PM visits Sudan for 'mediation' following Eid eve massacre
Ethiopia's premier will attempt to broker talks between military and civilian pro-democracy leaders, following a brutal crackdown on protesters this week.
2 min read
07 June, 2019
Ethiopia's premier Abiy Ahmed arrived in Khartoum for talks on Friday [Getty]
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed touched down in the Sudanese capital on Friday to mediate talks between the ruling generals and protest leaders after a deadly crackdown by the junta on Monday saw over 100 civilian protesters brutally killed, but some protest leaders have vowed not to negotiate with the regime.

Abiy arrived at Khartoum International Airport and made his way to a series of meetings with the ruling generals, AFP reported from the airport.

Pictures tweeted of the meeting showed Ahmed grinning while shaking the hand of the leader of the Transitional Military Council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

The Ethiopian premier was scheduled to meet protest leaders later.

Read more: The Arab autocracies blocking Sudan's path to democracy

"We have received an invitation from the Ethiopian embassy to meet the Ethiopian prime minister at 11:00 am (0900 GMT) and we will go," prominent protest leader Omar al-Digeir said.

However, Sadiq Yusuf, Sudanese Communist party leader who is part of the opposition coalition, rejected any mediation efforts.

"Talks were open directly with the military council but now they have been shuttered after the massacre....the Alliance of Freedom of Change does not recognise the military council, an extension of the Bashir regime," he told The New Arab's Arabic sister publication.

Ethiopia has played a key role in brokering negotiations between military and pro-democracy leaders, as the chair of an eight-nation Horn of Africa regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, which includes Sudan.

On Monday, Sudanese security forces launched a deadly crackdown on a weeks-long peaceful sit-in outside army headquarters in which more than 100 people were killed, according to protest leaders.

Officials have put the death toll at 61 nationwide. However, at least 45 corpses have been recovered from the River Nile, suggesting that the security forces tried to dispose of bodies in order to conceal the real number of protesters killed.

The massacre prompted Sudan's immediate suspension from the African Union, who also announced a boycott of the military leaders. It urged the formation of a Civilian-led Transitional Authority to guide the country out of its current crisis.

Meanwhile support for the military comes from powerful backers the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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