Sudan’s Foreign Ministry summons British ambassador for ‘undiplomatic’ tweets
Sudan’s Foreign Ministry has officially summoned British ambassador Irfan Siddiq to answer for his “unbalanced attitudes,” after he tweeted about government firing at protesters but not about negotiations proposals.
“Mr. Irfan’s frequent tweets…are contrary to established diplomatic norms,” a ministry spokesman told the Sudan News Agency on Wednesday.
Siddiq prolifically tweets about Sudanese affairs, but it was a series of posts condemning a violent crackdown on protesters earlier this month that earned him the official rebuke. Siddiq heavily criticized the crackdown, but failed to mention the government’s attempts to negotiate with the opposition, the ministry said.
Sudan’s military opened up with live ammunition on protesters in Khartoum two weeks ago, killing at least 13 people. The protesters had been camped outside the army’s headquarters, demonstrating against the military government that has ruled the country since authoritarian president Omar al-Bashir was ousted in April following mass protests.
“No excuse for any such attack,” Siddiq tweeted. “This. Must. Stop. Now.”
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Extremely concerned by the heavy gunfire I’ve been hearing over the last hour from my Residence and reports that Sudanese security forces are attacking the protest sit-in site resulting in casualties. No excuse for any such attack.
This. Must. Stop. Now.
— Irfan Siddiq (@FCOIrfan) June 3, 2019
Siddiq’s statement was later echoed by British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, who declared that Sudan’s ruling Military Council “bears full responsibility for this action and the international community will hold it to account.”
It will not help Sudan build the future the people are demanding. The Military Council bears full responsibility for this action and the international community will hold it to account 2/2
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) June 3, 2019
The council insisted that troops targeted criminals, not protesters. On Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry added that the council is ready to “negotiate without preconditions” to form a stable government.
The protesters and Sudan’s army chiefs have been stuck in a deadlocked negotiation over who should govern in a transitional period. The military said it would let protesters form a government but insists on maintaining authority during an interim period which is opposed by protesters.
Meanwhile, violence has gripped the troubled country. At least 19 children have been killed and another 49 injured since the government crackdown began earlier this month, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore claimed on Tuesday.
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