US charge d’affaires meets with Sudanese rebel leader

Steven Koutsis, charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, has met with Yassir Arman, deputy leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), to discuss means of establishing a “civilian-led government”, according to an embassy statement released Monday.

“Koutsis met with Arman and representatives of the SPLM-North [one of Sudan’s main rebel groups],” the statement read.

“Arrangements for the transitional period must include an inclusive dialogue for a lasting peace,” it added.

The embassy statement went on to assert: “All factions willing to join in the process should be allowed to return to Sudan immediately without restrictions.”

Koutsis’s meeting with Arman comes amid fresh calls for a nationwide strike after talks between Sudan’s opposition and the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) failed to make any headway.

Earlier Monday, the TMC and the opposition Change and Freedom coalition failed to agree on the composition of a proposed “joint transitional council” tasked with running the nation’s affairs until presidential polls can be held.

Last month, Sudan’s military establishment announced the “removal” of President Omar al-Bashir following months of popular demonstrations against his 30-year rule.

The TMC is now overseeing a two-year transitional period during which it has pledged to hold presidential elections.

Demonstrators, however, have remained on the streets to demand that the TMC relinquish power — at the earliest possible date — to a civilian authority.