Sudan army and opposition agree to form transitional government

Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the main opposition coalition have reached an agreement to usher in a new period of a transitional government, the African Union (AU) said.

Mohamed Hassan Lebatt, the AU mediator for Sudan, said representatives from both sides – civilian pro-democracy groups and the military – will continue talks on Saturday over the technical details of the deal.

“I am announcing to the Sudanese, African and international public opinion that the two delegations have fully agreed on the constitutional declaration,” Lebatt told a news conference in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The document, which outlines the powers and the relationships between the branches of the transitional government, comes after weeks of protracted negotiations brokered by the AU and neighbouring Ethiopia amid sporadic bouts of violence in the capital Khartoum and other cities.

Sudan has been in a state of political turmoil since the army removed veteran leader Omar al-Bashir in April, with dozens of demonstrators killed during street protests.

As news of the agreement emerged, people began gathering on Nile Street, the main avenue in the capital Khartoum, honking car horns and ululating in celebration.

“We have been waiting for a civilian state to seek fair retribution from the murderers of our sons,” one protester Somaiya Sadeq told AFP news agency.

“We’re victorious!” some people chanted while others sang the national anthem.

Legal and technical teams still need to establish a timeline for the declaration to come into effect and for the transitional government to be appointed.

Once the transitional government starts work, Sudan embarks on a three-year transition period expected to lead to elections.

Two key points of contention had been the role of Sudan’s General Intelligence Service and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the country’s most powerful paramilitary group.

According to a draft of the declaration seen by Reuters news agency, the intelligence service will report to the cabinet and the sovereign council, the body that will rule the country in the transitional period, while the RSF will fall under the general command of the armed forces.

The sides had previously agreed that the sovereign council will comprise 11 members – five officers selected by the TMC, five civilians chosen by the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition and another civilian to be agreed upon by both sides. Its first leader will be from the military.

When the sovereign council is formed, the TMC, headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, RSF commander General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, will be dissolved.

The FFC alliance is expected to hold a press conference later on Saturday to explain the details of the deal.

Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow said no one from the Omar al-Bashir era is expected be included in the new government. 

“The challenge will be how to put the whole thing into motion and get to a period of transition,” said Adow, adding that critical posts such as the prime minister are yet to be decided.

“We are seeing for the first time a hybrid transitional authority made up of both military and civilian members. How they will work together is going to be very interesting to watch.”

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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