BY TESFANEWS *
Amidst ongoing protests in Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates said they are sending $3 billion worth of aid to the interim ruling military council.
The two countries will deposit $500 million with the Sudanese central bank and send the rest in the form of food, medicine, and petroleum products, their state news agencies said in parallel statements.
“This is to strengthen its financial position, ease the pressure on the Sudanese pound and increase stability in the exchange rate,” the Saudi Press Agency said.
It is the first major publicly announced assistance to Sudan from Gulf states in several years.
The two Gulf states have ties with the head of Sudan’s transitional military council (TMC), Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, through their participation in the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.
Meanwhile, TMC head General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan today issued an ‘urgent statement’ against Turkish forces in the country, particularly in the Suakin Island.
The statement gave the Turkish government until Sunday May 26, 2019 to evacuate all its forces from the Suakin Island.
Earlier last week, the TMC rejects meeting with the Qatari delegation led by Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani.
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Sudan has been suffering from a deepening economic crisis that has caused cash shortages and long queues at bakeries and petrol stations.
Saudi Arabia and UAE donated an aid package of $3 billion to Sudan on Sunday.
Tonight in Khartoum, protesters are chanting "we dont want Saudi support…" pic.twitter.com/YrqhOCdhw7
— Hamza Mohamed (@Hamza_Africa) April 21, 2019
TMC head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan told state TV that the formation of a joint military-civilian council – one of the activists’ demands – was being considered.
“The issue has been put forward for discussion and a vision has yet to be reached,” he said.
“The role of the military council complements the uprising and the blessed revolution,” said Burhan, adding that the TMC was committed to handing power over to the people.
— david pilling (@davidpilling) April 21, 2019
But a coalition of protesters and opposition groups said the TMC was not serious about handing over power to civilians, describing the council as an “extension of the old regime”.
“We have decided to opt for escalation with the military council, not to recognise its legitimacy and to continue the sit-in and escalate the protests on the streets,” Mohamed al-Amin Abdel-Aziz, of the Sudanese Professional Association, told one of the largest crowds outside the defence ministry.
— Sotiri Dimpinoudis (@sotiridi) April 21, 2019
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 20, 2019