Sudan Military, Opposition Sign Initial Political Accord

Wednesday, 17 July, 2019 - 06:45
Asharq Al-Awsat

Sudan's military council and the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) opposition alliance initialed a political accord on Wednesday as part of a power-sharing deal aimed at leading the African nation to democracy, live television showed.

The accord was signed in Khartoum in the presence of African mediators following a night of marathon talks to iron out some details of the agreement reached earlier this month.

The deal is meant to pave the way to a political transition in Sudan after military leaders ousted former President Omar al-Bashir in April following weeks of protests against him.

General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of Sudan's Transitional Military Council, hailed the agreement as the start of a new partnership between the armed forces, including the paramilitary forces he leads, and the opposition coalition of Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC).

Ibrahim al-Amin, an FFC leader, said the accord signalled a new era of self-reliance for Sudan's people.

"We want a stable homeland, because we have suffered a great deal," Amin said in a speech after the ceremony.

Ethiopian mediator Mahmud Dirir said Sudan needed to overcome poverty and called for the country to be taken of a US list of states that support terrorism.

The sides are still working on a constitutional declaration, which is expected to be signed on Friday.

Under the power-sharing deal reached earlier this month, the parties agreed to share power in a sovereign council during a transitional period of just over three years.

They also agreed to form an independent government of technocrats to run the country and to launch a transparent, independent investigation into the violence.

The power-sharing agreement called for a sovereign council comprised of 11 members – five officers selected by the military council, five civilians chosen by the FFC and another civilian to be agreed upon by both sides.

The constitutional declaration will now decide the duties and responsibilities of the sovereign council.

The military was to head the council during the first 21 months of the transitional period while a civilian would head the council during the remaining 18 months.

But the agreement was thrown into doubt when new disputes surfaced last week over the military council's demand for immunity for council members against prosecution.

The military council also demanded that the sovereign council would retain ultimate decision-making powers rather than the government.

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