Sudan: Military and pro-democracy activists strike a deal

KHARTOUM, Sudan (HPD) — Sudan’s ruling generals and the main pro-democracy group signed a framework agreement Monday to try to resolve the country’s crisis and move it toward an election, though some key dissidents, including rebels and reformists, remained in the dark. margin.

The deal promises to set up a new civilian-led transitional government to guide the country through elections and offer a course forward after the deadlock in Sudan’s transition to democracy following a coup in October 2021.

The deal, the first of at least two planned deals, was signed by Sudan’s ruling generals Abdel-Fattah el-Burhan and Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, and the leaders of the country’s largest pro-democracy group, the Forces for Freedom and Change, in the Khartoum Republican Palace.

However, several dissident political forces boycotted the agreement, including the Resistance Committee, a network of grassroots Sudanese activists that has maintained its refusal to negotiate with the generals.

Several former rebel leaders, who have formed their own political bloc, have also rejected the deal, saying it only serves the interests of the army and the Freedom and Change Forces. The Associated Press had access to a draft of the agreement, which promises the Sudanese military will withdraw from politics after the 2021 coup.

The agreement also stipulates that the signatory “revolutionary forces” will choose a new prime minister to oversee a two-year transition, a 24-month period that begins after the appointment of a prime minister.

In response to the signing, the leaders of the Resistance Committee called for demonstrations against the plan.

The text is roughly based on a transitional constitution proposed in September by the Sudanese Bar Association. It does not address thorny issues such as a transitional judicial system or army reforms, which have been put off for a later deal.

It also stipulates that the army will form part of a new “security and defense council” under the authority of the prime minister. The text promises to unify the armed forces and imposes controls on companies owned by the army.

The document mentioned in particular Sudan’s wealthy paramilitary forces, the Rapid Support Forces, led by Dagalo. The body has amassed wealth through its gradual acquisition of Sudanese financial institutions and gold reserves in recent years.

However, no details were given on how or when those reforms would be implemented, and many of the amendments had been promised in a 2020 pact in which the previous transitional government made peace with rebels in remote provinces of the country.

Sudan has been mired in instability since General Burhan led a coup in October 2021 that derailed the country’s democratic transition after three decades of authoritarian rule by Omar al-Bashir. The former leader was overthrown in April 2019 after a popular uprising.

The UN special envoy to Sudan, Volker Perthes, attended Monday’s signing and later described the deal as “Sudanese-owned and led” in a speech at the palace.

The pact was the result of months of negotiations between the military and the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, facilitated by a four-party mediation team involving the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Britain.

The document is expected to open the way for international aid, cut short after the military coup. In recent months, shortages of bread and fuel, caused in part by the war in Ukraine, have become routine in Sudan.

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