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Sudan’s anti-coup groups meet with junta generals to resolve lingering crisis

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Leading Sudanese anti-coup and pro-democracy groups have met with the country’s ruling generals for the first time since a military coup in October, 2021, in a bid to find a lasting solution to the crisis it generated which had led to the killing of hundreds of protesters by security forces.

The historic meeting could signal a breakthrough in attempts to bring the East African nation back on track toward a democratic transition following the coup which truncated a power-sharing agreement that instated a joint military-civilian government that was supposed to rule until general elections be held.

The meeting which led on Thursday in the capital, Khartoum, brought together the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change (FDFC), an alliance of political parties and protest groups, together with representatives of the country’s Ruling Military Council.

The FDFC had previously boycotted military-civilian talks that kicked off earlier in the week under the auspices of the United Nations political mission in Sudan, the African Union, and the eight-nation East African regional Intergovernmental Authority in Development Group, (IGAD).

The alliance had criticized the participation of pro-military groups and Islamists who had been allied with the former regime of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir.

Since the military took over in October, the same pro-democracy group has refused to sit with the generals at the negotiating table, insisting they should first transfer power to a civilian government, return to the barracks, end violence against protesters and release all detainees.

But the alliance backtracked and agreed to attend a new round of talks facilitated by the US and Saudi Arabia Embassies which, according to a statement on Friday, were quite fruitful and focused on resolving the current political impasse.

“We thank the participants for their frank and constructive participation and for their willingness to end the political crisis and to build a peaceful, just and democratic Sudan,” a joint statement by the embassies said.

On why it attended the meeting, the pro-democratic alliance said that it had received an invitation from US Assistant Secretary of State Mary Catherine Phee and Saudi Ambassador Ali bin Hassan Jaafar to meet directly with the generals, the FDFC said.

“We are keen to have two of the most influential countries in the region and the world remain supportive of the Sudanese people and the pro-democracy forces,” it said, referring to Saudi Arabia and the US.

The group said that it had agreed to lay out a roadmap in consultation with other civilian groups that would include clear steps on how to reverse the political coup with the blueprint handed over to the international community.

The meeting, held in the residence of the Saudi ambassador was attended by four of the alliance’s leaders and three top military generals, including deputy head of Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, as well as Lt. Gen. Shams el-Din Kabashin and Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Gaber.

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Malian migrants, including children, die as makeshift Europe-bound boat capsizes in Libya

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Twenty-two Malian migrants including three children, have been killed when their makeshift Europe-bound boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, the United Nations as well as the Malian government have confirmed on Wednesday.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), also confirmed that 61 other migrants were rescued and taken to a detention centre in Libya.

The Ministry of Malians Abroad, in a statement, said the people who died were part of a group of 83 mostly Malian nationals who were stuck on a distressed vessel since June 22.

The IOM, in statement by its spokeswoman Safa Msehli, said the rescued victims were brought back to shore with the help of the Libyan coastguard after nine days at sea, adding that the “cause of death for the 22 people was drowning and dehydration.”

Msehli also said some of the survivors were in very poor health and had to be taken to hospital by the IOM.

“The remaining migrants were taken to al-Maya detention centre” in Libya, she said.

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Monkeypox: WHO records over 6,000 cases in 58 countries in recent outbreak

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According to the World Health Organization, more than 6,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 58 countries in the current outbreak.

The United Nations agency is yet to decide declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, the WHO’s highest level of alert.

Its committee reconvene a meeting in July 18 to decide or sooner.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference from Geneva.

Monkeypox, a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, has also penetrated Europe and North America in its recent spread with more than 100 cases recorded outside Africa.

The UN committee meeting in June 27 decided that the disease was not yet a health emergency. There have recently been reported cases in other African countries like Nigeria and Morocco.

“I continue to be concerned by the scale and spread of the virus across the world,” Tedros said, adding that a lack of testing meant that there were likely many more cases going unreported.

Until recently, monkeypox had been a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, but has gradually penetrating Europe and North America in its recent outbreak.

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