* Burhan led Oct. 25 coup that derailed transition
* Says investigation has started over protest victims
* Says Sudan in contact with ICC over Darfur suspects
KHARTOUM, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Sudan's military will exit
politics after elections scheduled for 2023, General Abdel
Fattah al-Burhan told Reuters in an interview on Saturday,
adding that the deposed former ruling party would have no role
in the transition.
Following a military takeover led by Burhan in late October
that upended Sudan's transition to civilian-led democracy, a
deal was struck on Nov. 21 reinstating Prime Minister Abdalla
Hamdok to lead a technocratic Cabinet until elections in July
"When a government is elected, I don't think the army, the
armed forces, or any of the security forces will participate in
politics. This is what we agreed on and this is the natural
situation," Burhan said.
The coup, which ended a partnership with civilian political
parties after the ouster of Omar al-Bashir, drew international
condemnation after the detention of dozens of key officials and
crackdowns on protesters.
Neighbourhood resistance committees and political parties
have called for the military to exit politics immediately and
have rejected any compromise including the deal with Hamdok. At
least 44 people have died during demonstrations, many from
gunshot wounds from security forces, according to medics.
"Investigations regarding the victims of the protests have
begun to identify who has done this ... and to punish the
criminals," Burhan said, adding that security forces had only
dispersed non-peaceful protests.
Bashir has been jailed since his overthrow on corruption and
other charges. Along with several other Sudanese suspects, he is
also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over
alleged war crimes in Darfur.
The civilian government dissolved in the coup had approved
Bashir's handover but the military has yet to agree.
"We have understandings with the International Criminal
Court for the appearance (of suspects) before the judiciary or
before the court," Burhan said. "We have remained in dialogue
with the court on how to do right by the victims."
In the aftermath of the coup, many civilian bureaucrats were
dismissed or transferred and replaced with Bashir-era veterans
in decisions Hamdok has sought to reverse.
Burhan said none of the political forces would be part of
the transitional government, including those of Bashir's former
ruling party. "We will work together so that the National
Congress Party will not be a part of the transition in any
form," he said.
Sudan is in a deep economic crisis, though an influx of
international economic support had begun to be felt before much
of it was suspended after the coup.
Burhan said he expected the backing to return once a
civilian government is formed, indicating that the country would
not reverse reforms enacted over the past two years by
reinstating subsidies or returning to printing money.
Though Western nations and the African Union have spoken out
against the coup, diplomats say Russia, which is seeking to
develop a naval base on Sudan's Red Sea coast, has been
cultivating ties with military leaders. A deal for the base has
yet to be finalised, Burhan said.
"We hope that our relations (with Russia) will become
stronger with the signature of this agreement," he said.
"Consultations are continuing and we are working on the
agreement until it becomes acceptable and legal."
(Reporting by Aidan Lewis and Khalid Abdelaziz; writing by
Nafisa Eltahir; Editing by Alex Richardson, Christina Fincher
and Jonathan Oatis)