The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said that the enduring crisis puts Sudan on a perilous route away from peace and stability.

EU foreign policy chief urges Sudanese military authorities to de-escalate tensions and avoid
EU foreign policy chief urges Sudanese military authorities to de-escalate tensions and avoid "further loss of life." (Uncredited / AP)

The European Union’s foreign policy chief has said Sudan’s military rulers have shown an unwillingness to negotiate a peaceful settlement to the country's ongoing crisis.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said on Tuesday that repeated calls for Sudanese authorities to refrain from violence against protesters “have fallen on deaf ears.”

His statement comes a day after security forces opened fire on anti-coup protesters in the capital, killing at least seven people.

Borrell said the ongoing crackdown, including violence against civilians and the detention of activists and journalists, has put Sudan on “a dangerous path away from peace and stability.”

He urged the military authorities to de-escalate tensions, saying, “avoiding further loss of life is of the essence.”

The crackdown, Borrell said, also risks derailing UN efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis that has worsened with the resignation of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok earlier this month.

READ MORE: How the world is reacting to Sudan crisis

Investigating the killings

There was no immediate comment from Khartoum to EU's condemnation.

However, General Abdel Fattah al Burhan, head of the ruling sovereign council, ordered the formation of a fact-finding commission to investigate the killings, the council said. 

The commission, which will include security agencies and the public prosecution, has 72 hours to report back, it said.

More than 70 people have been killed and hundreds of others have been wounded in mass protests since the military took over on October 25, removing the country’s civilian-led government.

READ MORE: Sudan army kills several anti-coup protesters, wounds dozens

International support

Also Tuesday, the Friends of Sudan group is convening virtually in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, to rally support for UN efforts to end the ongoing deadlock. 

The group, including the United States, Britain and other international governments and world financial institutions, is meant to support Sudan's transition to democratic rule.

“International support and leverage is needed. Support for political process needs to go along with active support to stop violence,” tweeted Volker Perthes, the UN envoy for Sudan.

US Assistant Secretary of State Molly Phee and the US newly appointed special envoy for the Horn of Africa, David Satterfield, are attending the Riyadh meeting. 

They will then travel to Khartoum to meet with the generals and other political leaders and activists in the crisis, according to the State Department.

READ MORE: A military coup: What is happening in Sudan?

Source: AP