Sudan military council, opposition strike deal to share power

Posted by News Express | 5 July 2019 | 625 times

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•Sudanese demonstrators before the deal on power-sharing

Sudan’s ruling generals and a coalition of protest and opposition groups have reached an agreement to share power during a transition period before a general election, according to an African Union (AU) mediator.

Both sides agreed to “establish a sovereign council by rotation between the military and civilians for a period of three years or slightly more”, Mohamed Hassan Lebatt said at a news conference on Friday.

Five seats would go to the military and five to civilians, with an additional seat given to a civilian with military background.

The two sides would postpone the establishment of a legislative council, which was previously agreed on, but decided to launch a "transparent and independent investigation" into recent violent events.

The deal came after two days of talks following the collapse of the previous round of negotiations in the wake of a brutal military crackdown last month on a protest camp in the capital, Khartoum, that left scores of pro-democracy protesters dead.

The ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the opposition coalition have been wrangling for weeks over what form Sudan's transitional government should take after the military deposed long-time President Omar al-Bashir in April in the wake of mass protests against his 30-year rule.

The AU and neighbouring Ethiopia stepped up mediation efforts to end the crisis and negotiations resumed earlier this week, following massive protests last weekend in which tens of thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Sudan's main cities in the biggest show of numbers since the bloody dispersal of the protesters' sit-in camp outside the military headquarters on June 3.

“This agreement opens the way for the formation of the institutions of the transitional authority, and we hope that this is the beginning of a new era,” said Omar al-Degair, a leader of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), an umbrella organisation of opposition groups.

General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, deputy head of the TMC, welcomed the deal, which, he said, would be inclusive.

“We would like to reassure all political forces, armed movements and all those who participated in the change from young men and women … that this agreement will be comprehensive and will not exclude anyone,” Dagalo, who is widely known as Hemeti, said.

“We thank the African and Ethiopian mediators for their efforts and patience. We also thank our brothers in the Forces for Freedom and Change for the good spirit,” added Dagalo, who heads the feared paramilitary unit Rapid Support Forces (RSF) accused by the demonstrators of crushing the sit-in.

Opposition medics say more than 100 people were killed in the dispersal and subsequent violence on June 3. The government put the death toll at 62.

‘Long process’

Azaz Elshami, a Sudanese-US human rights advocate, dubbed the deal “a PR exercise”, adding that this was going to be “the first step in a very, very long process”.

“It’s very hard for me to trust this power sharing. Hemeti and [TMC head Abdel Fattah] al-Burhan are part of the sovereign council,” said Elshami from Alexandria, Virginia, in the United States.

“Out of the three years, the military will get two years and then the civilian technocrats will have a year later,” she told Al Jazeera.

“This could have been acceptable prior to June 3 violence because at that point of time people had little trust in the military institutions, and Hemeti was seen as an ally.

“What I see from the dynamics of the power, that the FFC has been forced to accept something that is acceptable to other stakeholders,” Elshami told Al Jazeera. (Aljazeera and News Agencies)

Source: News Express

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