Deposed and detained Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has vowed that he will never step down ‘willingly’, more than a week after he was overthrown by the military on October 25, according to three sources close to him who spoke with CNN.
Hamdok’s defiance on Sunday came just a day after hundreds of thousands of demonstrators across the country took to the streets on Saturday in opposition to the coup, bringing the country’s capital, Khartoum, to a standstill.
The demonstrators waved banners and chanted anti-military slogans. The protests were called by the activist coalition Sudanese Professional Association (SPA) for the restoration of the transitional civilian government.
The African Union, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union have all condemned the military takeover and called for the restoration of the civilian government. The AU has even suspended Sudan and said the suspension will not be lifted until the civilian government is restored.
President Biden also personally condemned the coup in a statement and called for the release of all the detainees and the restoration of the civilian government.
At the G20 summit in Rome, Italy, at the weekend, President Biden also discussed the coup in Sudan with the African Union Chairperson, the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Felix Tshisekedi.
CNN reported on Sunday that sources close to Hamdok spoke with the network and said the deposed prime minister can only be met in the presence of a military escort, and that the military is, however, allowing international and local mediators to meet with him as pressure from the US and elsewhere grows.
“Sources close to the prime minister and the mediation talks laid out four steps that need to be taken to reinstate order in the country and to resume negotiations on Sunday, saying that it must start with Hamdok’s release and a return to the “status quo,” CNN said.
Since the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in 2019 after three decades in power, Sudan had been ruled by a Sovereign Council and the transitional government, an alliance between the military and civilian groups.
But on October 25, Sudan’s top general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, appeared on television and said the military was in charge and that the civilian government had been dissolved. He said he will hold elections in July 2023 and hand over power to an “independent and fair representative government.”
But the coup has only led to more instability in Sudan, and condemnation from across the world. The United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met on Sunday with South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor, and on Saturday, with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, and discussed a wide range of issues, including the crises in northern Ethiopia and Sudan.
Blinken, who is part of President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s delegation to the G20 in Rome, Italy, and COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, also discussed the coronavirus pandemic with both leaders.