Sudan deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: The Sudanese prime minister whoese government was dissolved by the army last week wants detainees released and governing bodies restored before he will enter into any dialogue, his office said on Wednesday, denying a report he had agreed to lead a new government.

Abdalla Hamdok’s government was dissolved by the military on October 25 by military chief General Abdel Fattah Al Burhan. Burhan said last week he wants to form a new government of technocrats, and that Hamdok could return to lead it. Mediation efforts have been underway for several days in search of a negotiated way out of the crisis.

A source close to Hamdok told Reuters mediated talks were ongoing but no deal had been reached.

Quoting unnamed sources, the Al Arabiya TV said earlier on Wednesday that Hamdok had agreed to return to lead a government. Al Hadath TV, an affiliate of Al Arabiya, reported Hamdok wanted political detainees released as a condition.

However, his office denied he had agreed to return.

Volker Perthes, the UN special representative to Sudan, said on Monday that Sudanese and international mediation efforts were expected to bear fruit in coming days.

Speaking to Sudanese editors on Wednesday, he said “the contours of an agreement are becoming clearer”, his office said.

The transition was meant to steer to elections in 2023, after the army deposed long-ruling Gen Omar Al Bashir two years ago, prompted by a popular uprising against his rule.

Burhan has said he moved last week to avert civil war after civilian politicians stoked hostility to the armed forces. He says he is still committed to a democratic transition, including elections in July 2023.

Reportedly, one proposal under discussion would see Hamdok given greater powers but with a new cabinet more palatable to the army.

The army, in control for much of Sudan’s history since independence in 1956, would be in charge of the government’s powerful security and defence councils under the deal.