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Sudan army-led Council wants lesser ‘facilitator’ role for UN envoy

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The deputy head of Sudan’s military-led Sovereign Council said on Saturday a U.N. envoy should be working as a “facilitator and not a mediator”, signalling an apparent tougher line towards international efforts to resolve a political crisis.

A United Nations mission led by special envoy Volker Perthes began talks this month to help resolve the standoff which followed a coup last year. Previously, the Sovereign Council has welcomed the U.N. initiative, and Perthes has said the army had no objections to his presence.

EditPro | Lagos Metropolitan newspaper U.N. Special Representative in Sudan Volker Perthes speaks during a news conference in Khartoum, Sudan January 10, 2022. REUTERS/El Tayeb Siddig

“The head of the United Nations’ Integrated Transition Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) should be a facilitator and not a mediator,” the Council’s deputy head, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, said in a statement.

The Council was not shunning the international community but “rejects interference in domestic affairs,” he said.

Dagalo’s statement did not explain what had prompted his comment. Perthes and the Council could not immediately be reached for comment.

A Sovereign Council committee investigating protester deaths said on Saturday it had collected testimony from witnesses in an anti-coup protest on Jan. 17 in which seven people were killed.

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