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Arab states support Sudan transition, want stability - UAE minister

DUBAI (Reuters) - Arab states support a transition in Sudan that balances the ambitions of the people with stability, a senior United Arab Emirates minister said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for the United Arab Emirates, Anwar Gargash, speaks at an event at Chatham House in London, Britain July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall

The UAE and Saudi Arabia last month pledged $3 billion in aid to Sudan, throwing a lifeline to the country’s new military leaders who ousted president Omar al-Bashir after weeks of mass protests.

Protesters and activists have been negotiating with the Transitional Military Council (TMC) to form a joint civilian-military body to oversee a transition, but are deadlocked over who would control the new council.

“Totally legitimate for Arab states to support an orderly & stable transition in Sudan. One that carefully calibrates popular aspirations with institutional stability,” the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, said on Twitter

“We have experienced all-out chaos in the region and, sensibly, don’t need more of it,” he added.

Sudanese opposition groups are calling for a civilian-led council to oversee the political transition. The TMC has shown no sign of willingness to relinquish ultimate authority.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia are backing council head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, through their participation the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

The UAE was quick to welcome Burhan’s appointment and said it would look to accelerate aid to Sudan. Shortly after Burhan’s nomination, Saudi Arabia said it would provide wheat, fuel and medicine to Sudan.

The financial aid provided by the two close allies, which includes a deposit of $500 million with the Sudanese central bank, is the first major publicly announced assistance to the African nation from Gulf states in several years.

The UAE and Saudi have worked to counter the rise of political Islamist movements across the region and supported Egypt’s military leader President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after the overthrow of its first democratically elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi and Nafisa Eltahir; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Angus MacSwan