The United Nations has said it will hold talks in Sudan aimed at salvaging a fragile democratic transition amid a grinding stalemate following an October coup.

Crackdown on protests by pro-democracy groups in Sudan has left at least 60 people dead.
Crackdown on protests by pro-democracy groups in Sudan has left at least 60 people dead. (Reuters)

The United Nations has said that it will invite Sudanese military leaders, political parties and other groups to take part in a "political process" aimed at ending a crisis unleashed by a coup in October.

Volker Perthes, the UN envoy for Sudan, said in a statement on Saturday that the UN-facilitated process would seek a “sustainable path forward towards democracy and peace” in the country.

“It is time to end the violence and enter into a constructive process. This process will be inclusive,” he said.

Sudan's military, armed movements, political parties, civil society and resistance committees will be invited to participate, the UN statement said. 

It wasn't immediately clear when discussions might begin. There was no immediate comment from the pro-democracy movement or the military on the UN statement.

READ MORE: Protesters killed as Sudanese forces crack down on fresh anti-coup rallies

'Deepening mistrust'

UN mediation in the weeks after the coup succeeded in reinstating Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, but his resignation last week deepened uncertainty around Sudan's political future and a transition towards elections scheduled for 2023.

Neighbourhood-based resistance committees, political parties and other pro-democracy groups have carried out an ongoing campaign of protests under a "no negotiation" slogan, and crackdowns by security forces have left at least 60 dead.

"All measures taken to date have not succeeded in restoring the course of this transformation," Perthes said in the statement. 

"The...repeated violence against largely peaceful protesters has only served to deepen the mistrust among all political parties in Sudan," he added.

Unless a new course towards a transition and credible elections can be charted, more instability within and beyond Sudanese borders is likely, analysts and diplomats have said.

Transition to democracy

The October 25 coup scuttled hopes of a peaceful transition to democracy in Sudan more than two years after a popular uprising forced the military overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al Bashir and his government in April 2019.

Hamdok resigned from office January 2, citing a failure to reach a compromise between the generals and the country’s pro-democracy movement. 

He had been ousted in the coup only to be reinstated a month later following a deal with the military meant to calm tensions and anti-coup protests.

The protest movement insists that a fully civilian government lead the transition, a demand rejected by the generals who say power will be handed over only to an elected government. 

Elections are planned in July 2023, in line with a constitutional document governing the transition period.

READ MORE: What's next for Sudan after civilian leader Hamdok's resignation?

Source: TRTWorld and agencies