190822 Hamdok
File picture shows ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok Image Credit: AP

Khartoum: Sudan’s military leader is trying to persuade ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to reassume his role on the condition the army chooses a new cabinet, according to people familiar with the matter.

The country’s top general, Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, sees Hamdok’s involvement as key to building international credibility for the new administration, said the people, who asked not to be identified as they weren’t authorised to talk to the media.

US President Joe Biden has echoed demands by the United Nations and others for the restoration of Hamdok’s administration. The US and the World Bank have frozen aid while the African Union has suspended Sudan’s membership. All of which likely prompted Al Burhan to seek the support of the man he ousted.

At least 12 people have been killed in the violence that followed the dissolution of the government by the military.

Hamdok, a former United Nations economist who was detained before returning home late Tuesday, has told visiting ambassadors he’s determined to continue as premier and is rejecting the proposal, according to the people.

Hamdok remains under a form of house arrest and access has been tightly controlled.

Russia’s state-owned Sputnik news agency on Friday cited Al Burhan as saying Sudan will have a technocrat as new prime minister “within a week,” although he has no list of candidates yet.

Two Western diplomats said that the West’s message to those behind the dissolution of the government was that Hamdok was still the legitimate prime minister. During the ambassadorial visit on Wednesday, Hamdok appeared in good health.

Al Burhan is keen on appointing a new chief justice that will enable him to start forming the government, according to people familiar with the plans. Some roles in the administration would be taken by rebels who fought former president Gen Oman Al Bashir’s regime for years in the country’s south and Darfur regions, they said.

The insurgents signed peace deals after Bashir’s ouster in 2019 and joined Hamdok’s government this year, before breaking away in October and calling for its dissolution.