Sudan's Military Rulers Given Breathing Room by African Leaders

(Bloomberg) -- African leaders gave Sudan’s ruling military council more time to hand over power to a transitional government, and urged the international community to provide the embattled nation with urgent aid to support its shift to democracy.

In closing remarks following an Egyptian-sponsored summit of several African nations, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said the participants agreed on the need to provide Sudan “full support” to help it overcome the challenges it faces after the military’s ouster of Omar Al-Bashir this month. El-Sisi said that “more time” was needed to ensure a smoother transition.

African leaders recommended extending the deadline for a handover to a civilian-led government to three months from the 15 days the African Union gave last week, according to a statement published after the meeting.

The decision was unlikely to satisfy critics of the military that seized power from Al-Bashir, who have been calling for an immediate handover. Sudan’s main opposition coalition on Sunday refused to hold further talks with the council, citing what it said was a lack of seriousness by the current leaders to cede power.

The opposition’s decision extended a standoff between protesters and the military, which began with the April 11 announcement of Al-Bashir’s ouster. It also threatened to plunge Africa’s third-largest country into deeper turmoil after four months of protests aimed at booting the 75-year-old president out of an office he’d held for three decades.

The Cairo gathering was attended by several key African leaders. Egypt’s El-Sisi, the current head of the African Union, said that another meeting would be held in a month to assess developments in Sudan and appealed to all parties in the country to keep talking.

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