Sudan’s military ruler vows implementation of new agreement with protesters

The deal reached Friday followed two days of hard-won talks brokered by Ethiopian and African Union mediators
Sudan's military ruler vows implementation of new agreement with protesters

Sudan’s army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan vowed Saturday to implement the power-sharing deal agreed with demonstrators, as the protest campaign cancelled a nationwide day of civil disobedience later this month.

The ruling military council and protest leaders agreed Friday to form a joint civilian-military governing body aimed at ending the country’s months-long political crisis.

“We, as the military council, promise to protect what has been agreed upon and ensure that it is implemented,” Burhan said in a statement broadcast live on state television.

“We are going to work with our partners from the Alliance for Freedom and Change and other forces in close cooperation in order to realise the aspirations of the people,” he said.

The deal reached Friday followed two days of hard-won talks brokered by Ethiopian and African Union mediators, after negotiations collapsed in May over who should lead the new body — a civilian or soldier.

READ: Sudan’s protest leaders and military reach landmark agreement on governing council

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The agreement stipulates that the new governing body will be presided over by a military nominee for the first 21 months, and the last 18 months by a civilian.

It is expected to be ready for signing by the two sides early next week, although the draft has postponed the formation of a 300-seat transitional parliament that had been agreed upon in previous talks. 

Commemorating protesters –

The breakthrough accord came amid a political deadlock that has gripped Sudan since the generals ousted leader Omar al-Bashir in a palace coup in April following months of mass protests nationwide.

Burhan’s remarks came after the Alliance for Freedom and Change cancelled a nationwide day of civil disobedience that was set for July 14.

The alliance released a new programme of events on social media, which makes no mention of the planned campaign.

Ahmed al-Rabie, a prominent leader from the movement, told reporters the decision was made “to give room for the agreement” to be implemented.

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A mass protest scheduled for July 13 by the alliance has also been changed to a “commemoration” for protesters killed 40 days earlier in a raid by men in military fatigues on a sit-in outside army headquarters.

READ: Sudan’s protest leaders agree to resume talks with military, lists condition

Another protest leader, Khalid Omar, said the earlier aim of the mass protest and civil disobedience campaign was to “achieve civilian rule” through mobilising people on the streets against the generals.

“But now, we can assume that civilian rule will be achieved through the agreement,” he added.

Tension between the generals and protest leaders soared following the June 3 raid, prompting intense mediation efforts by Ethiopian and African Union envoys that led to the two sides resuming talks.

At least 136 people have been killed since June 3, including more than 100 on that day itself, according to doctors close to the protest movement.

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The health ministry has given a lower death toll of 78 people killed over the same period.

Days after the raid on the Khartoum sit-in, the protest alliance held a three-day nationwide civil disobedience campaign which attracted strong participation and hit the country’s already dilapidated economy hard.

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