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Sudan military and opposition agree to share power

July 5, 2019

Sudan's ruling military council and civilian protest leaders have reached an agreement to share power for a transition period. The plan envisages a rotating presidency and civilian-military ruling council.

A protester on the street in Khartoum In late June
Image: Reuters/U. Bektas

Mediators said progress had been made on Thursday by ruling military leaders and opposition protest groups in their efforts to establish a transition period to democracy in Sudan.

The talks were held in an effort to end a political crisis that began when the army ousted longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in April — with the army resisting protesters' demands for civilian rule.

Previous discussions had collapsed over a dispute about who should lead the body governing the transition — a civilian or a member of the military.

After two days of talks, the two sides agreed to "establish a sovereign council by rotation between the military and civilians for a period of three years or slightly more," African Union mediator Mohamed Hassan Lebatt said at a news conference.

There was also agreement on forming a sovereign council to rule Sudan during the transition, with five seats for the military and six for civilians.

Read more: Militiamen in Sudan raped men and women, says eyewitness

Tensions have been particularly high since security forces staged a deadly pre-dawn raid on a long-established protest camp in the capital, Khartoum. Opposition medics said more than 100 people were killed in the June 3 dispersal and subsequent violence.

Lebatt said both sides had also "agreed to have a detailed, transparent, national, independent investigation into all the regrettable violent incidents that the country faced in recent weeks."

The latest round of talks came about after an intense period of mediation by both Ethiopia and the African Union.

The first day of the talks was mainly concerned with the release of 235 fighters from a rebel group offshoot in the conflict-ravaged Darfur region of Sudan. The prisoners were released on Thursday, as the second session of talks took place.

Germany, EU hail 'breakthrough'

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas welcomed the announcement and pledged Germany's support for the new government.

"This political agreement opens the way to stable and peaceful democracy and economic recovery," he said.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also lauded the "breakthrough," adding that it was now important for both parties to "implement the agreement reached in good faith and also continue talks on outstanding issues."

rc/amp (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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