Sudan Tribune, July 3,2013
KHARTOUM – The Sudanese government sought to strike a neutral tone following the move by the Egyptian army today to overthrow Islamist president Mohamed Morsi after unprecedented multi-million strong demonstrations against him over the weekend that killed nearly 50 people.
Morsi’s own defence minister, armed forces chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced Morsi’s removal on TV on Wednesday night drawing wild jubilation from of protesters who have camped out on the streets of Cairo for days.
The powerful military had issued a 48-hour deadline on Monday for Morsi to meet the “people’s demands”, a day after protesters took to the streets calling for him to resign.
Sisi laid out details of the roadmap for a political transition, saying the Islamist-drafted constitution would be frozen and presidential elections held early, without specifying when.
Egyptian security forces also arrested key Muslim Brotherhood (MB) figures including the group’s deputy leader Rashad Bayoumi and Saad al-Katatni, who heads the MB political arm.
Warrants were also issued for the arrest of a total of 300 MB officials, state media said.
The Sudanese foreign ministry said in a statement today that that recent developments in Egypt are an “internal affair” that concerns its people, national institutions and political leadership.
It also called on all parties to give priority to preserving stability and security of Egypt and to deny “predators” the opportunity to undermine the country.
Khartoum’s reaction contrasted sharply with that of its Arab peers such as United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Syria which expressed joy at Morsi’s ouster mainly over its deep opposition to the MB.
A year ago, Sudan lauded the election of Morsi and president Omer Hassan al-Bashir flew to Cairo in September 2012 to congratulate him in person.
The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) had expressed hope that a regime with a similar ideology, in the Arab world most populous country, would prove a strong ally against hostile local, regional and international forces.
The NCP vice chairman Nafie Ali Nafie made that clear during his visit to Cairo last March when he slammed opposition in both Egypt and Sudan.
“Opponents of the national dialogue in Sudan and Egypt are not for democracy and they want to establish a veto against the will of people in Sudan and Egypt. If the elections bring [a regime with] Islamic orientation in Egypt then it is rejected and if it brings the National Congress [Party] in Sudan then [polls] are rigged which represents an undemocratic trend of these forces which are not relying on a popular base,” Nafie said at the time.
“They [opposition] know that free and transparent elections will not bring them [to power]. They are bubbles that will not find an echo [positive response from the people] that runs [only] from the media,” he added.
But the massive anti-Morsi protests showed that the MB had not only alienated liberals and secularists by seeking to entrench Islamic rule, notably in a new constitution, but had also angered millions of Egyptians with economic mismanagement.
Morsi had traveled to Khartoum last April in a highly publicized visit for talks with Bashir and other government officials.
A video was released during the visit showing Bashir and Morsi reciting the Holy Quran together in a mosque before Friday prayers which was seen by observers as a demonstration of how seriously they take their Islamic values.