Sudan News & Discussions

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Sudan military council must hand power to civilians in 60 days
by Reuters -
02 May 2019

The African Union said Sudan’s military rulers should hand power to a civilian-led transitional authority within 60 days.

In a statement, the AU noted “with deep regret” the military had not stepped aside and handed power to civilians within the 15-day period set by the AU last month. The 60 days are a final extension for Sudan’s Transitional Military Council to hand power to civilians, the AU said.

Sudan military council must hand power to civilians in 60 days - defenceWeb
 

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Khartoum Braces for Million-Person March
Thursday, 02 May, 2019


Sudanese protesters attend a demonstration in front of the Defense Ministry compound in Khartoum, Sudan, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Asharq Al-Awsat

Sudan's protest movement plans to hold a mass rally on Thursday as it steps up pressure on the military to hand over power to civilians following last month's overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir.

The Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a coalition led by the Sudanese Professionals Association, has called for a million-person march to begin in Khartoum at 1 p.m. Thursday.

The protesters have been holding negotiations with the transitional military council over the creation of a new sovereign council, but the two sides remain divided over how large a role the generals should have in it.

The army has been pushing for a 10-member council including seven military representatives and three civilians.

The coalition is demanding a council made up of eight civilians and seven generals.

The protesters fear the military intends to hold onto power or cut a deal with other factions that would leave much of al-Bashir's regime intact.

"We expect the march (on Thursday) to draw huge crowds," said Ahmed al-Rabia, a leader from the protest movement.

The military council has warned it will not allow "chaos" and urged protesters to dismantle makeshift barricades they have set up around the main protest site outside army headquarters.

 

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Sudan protesters reject army's position on civilian rule
  • 3 May 2019

Protesters in Sudan have criticised the ruling military council after it said it would not accept a civilian-majority power sharing council.

A top military council official earlier told the BBC that a transitional supreme council could not be dominated by civilians.

But an opposition spokesman said the military did not understand civilian government.

Talks between the military and the opposition remain deadlocked.

President Omar al-Bashir was ousted from power on 11 April after 30 years.

He was replaced by a transitional military council that promised to relinquish power to civilians within two years - a proposal rejected by protesters.

Demonstrators are continuing their mass sit-in outside military HQ to demand that the army cede control.

Protest leaders accuse the military of not negotiating in good faith and promoting the interests of Mr Bashir.

The military leaders say that they need to be in charge to ensure order and security in the country.

Who's in charge of Sudan?
The seven-member transitional military council led by Lt-Gen Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan is currently in charge.

Both it and the protesters have agreed that the next government will be made up of technocrats, not well-known politicians or the military, says the BBC's James Copnall in Khartoum.

But there would also be a supreme council, which would be above the government. Its composition and exact powers are still a subject of negotiation.

This supreme council replaces the president, and ensures that the military can retain relevance and power, while the civilians run the actual government business, our reporter says.

Lt Gen Salah Abdelkhalek told the BBC's Newsday programme that the military would insist on having at least half of all seats on the new supreme council: "[It's] a red line, maybe half and half," he said.

Abdelkhalek says the council might consider an equal share of seats with civilians

Opposition leaders - under The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) umbrella - sent a draft constitutional document on Thursday to
the military council, outlining their proposals for the transition period before elections are held.

The draft, seen by news agency Reuters, also proposes the responsibilities of a cabinet and a 120-member legislature.

The DFCF says it is waiting for the military council to respond.

The African Union revised its 15-day ultimatum set on 15 April for the military leaders to hand over power to civilians. They now have 60 days or face suspension from the continental body.


What does the military want?
James Copnall, BBC News, Khartoum
Lt Gen Salah Abdelkhalek - and the rest of the military council - clearly don't want to see their power eroded.

They fear that if they are a minority in a supreme council, they will simply be out-voted every time.
In fact, stating that he might accept a 50-50 split could be seen as a concession: the military had already suggested that the council should be made up of seven soldiers and three civilians.

Of course, negotiations are often carried out partly through public declarations, and mainly behind closed doors.

In private, there are numerous attempts to break the current deadlock between the military and the protesters.

Elsewhere in the interview, Lt Gen Salah pushed an old line - that without the military chaos would ensue; and repeated a well-worn denial - the armed forces hadn't targeted civilians in the past, he said.

People who lost family members in Darfur, the Nuba mountains, or what is now South Sudan will simply not believe that.

Where is Bashir?
The 75-year-old leader was moved to the high-security Kobar prison in the capital, Khartoum, days after he was deposed.

Mr Bashir came to power in a 1989 coup

Sudan's public prosecutor ordered on Thursday that the former president be questioned on charges of money laundering and financing terrorism.
Authorities found suitcases loaded with more than $351,000, €6m ($6.7m; £5.2m) and five billion Sudanese pounds ($105m) at Mr Bashir's home
during a raid last month.

Mr Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court in the Hague for war crimes over the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region.

 

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Huge crowds join protest sit-in against Sudan’s military leaders
by Reuters - 03 May 2019


Hundreds of thousands of protesters joined a sit-in outside Sudan’s defence ministry on Thursday to press the ruling military council to hand over power to a civilian government.

The huge crowd was answering a call by an alliance of activists and opposition groups to join a protest march through Khartoum.

The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance said on Thursday it had submitted a draft constitutional document containing its vision for the transitional period to the Transitional Military Council (TMC).

Protesters and activists have been negotiating with the TMC to form a joint civilian-military body to oversee the period following the forced departure of long-term president Omar al-Bashir.

But the parties are deadlocked over who would control the new council, and what the features of a transitional government would be.

Opposition groups say the ruling council must be civilian-led and have promised to maintain a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry until their demands are met, but the TMC has shown no sign of willingness to relinquish ultimate authority.

People came from a number of different provinces to join the march, a Reuters witness said.

At a televised news conference, a spokesman for the DFCF said it expected a response from the military to its draft constitutional draft within two or three days.

 

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Question time for Bashir
by Reuters - 03 May 2019

Sudan’s public prosecutor ordered ousted President Omar al-Bashir to be interrogated on charges of money laundering and financing terrorism, as thousands of protesters joined a sit-in to demand the army give way to civilian rule.

Bashir was removed by the military on April 11 after months of demonstrations against his 30 year rule. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for war crimes over conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region.

The prosecutor’s statement said other unidentified senior figures would also be investigated for financial crimes.

The huge crowd outside the defence ministry was answering a call by an alliance of activists and opposition groups to join a protest march in Khartoum.

The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance said it sent the Transitional Military Council (TMC) set up after Bashir’s ouster a draft constitutional document containing its vision for the transitional period.

Protesters and activists are negotiating with the TMC to form a joint civilian-military body to oversee the country until elections. The parties are deadlocked over who controls the new council and what the features of a transitional government would be.

The constitutional draft, seen by Reuters, outlines the duties of a sovereign transitional council which the opposition groups hope will replace the TMC, but does not specify who would sit on it. It also outlines the responsibilities of the cabinet and a 120-member legislature.

Opposition groups say the ruling council must be civilian-led and promise to maintain a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry until their demands are met, but the TMC has shown no sign of willingness to relinquish ultimate authority.

At a televised news conference, a spokesman for the DFCF said it expected a response from the military to its constitutional draft within two or three days. The TMC acknowledged receiving the draft and said in a statement this moves dialogue forward.


 

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Protest in southwest Sudan ends in violence
Written by Reuters -
6th May 2019

Sudanese protestors.

A protest in the South Darfur city of Nyala ended in violence on Saturday, with security forces launching tear gas at protesters and firing gunshots, state news agency SUNA and Sudan’s main protest organiser said.

Around 5,000 protesters marched peacefully from the Atash camp for the displaced to a military installation housing the 16th Infantry Division, SUNA said, citing South Darfur’s governor. Sudan has seen frequent protests near military buildings.

The agency said protesters attacked military personnel and tried to seize military vehicles in the town, some 1,100 km southwest of Khartoum.
However the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), which spearheaded protests that led to the ouster of president Omar al-Bashir last month, said the protesters were peaceful, and made no mention of casualties.

South Darfur Governor Hashim Khalid Mahmoud said four military and Rapid Support Forces personnel were injured, SUNA reported. He said the joint forces fired live ammunition into the air and used tear gas, but said no demonstrators were hurt.

The SPA is locked in a standoff with the ruling Transitional Military Council over who will control a proposed joint civilian-military body to oversee the country until elections can be held. Protests have continued in a bid to push the council to cede power to civilians.

The SPA, part of the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance, called on people across Sudan to take to the streets “in rejection of the practices of the regime in its new version, its security apparatus and its militias, and condemning their attacks on the peaceful rebels in Nyala”.
“Let us go out to the streets and rally at the sit-ins to support our brothers in Nyala, in support of them and their right to recapture their glorious sit-in in front of the 16th Infantry Division,” the SPA said in a statement.

Mahmoud said he would “not allow again the presence of protesters” in front of the military’s general command and the state government building in Nyala.

“They have to choose any other place to sit in,” he said.

A widely circulated video that was shared live on Facebook from inside a hospital in Nyala showed several people with gunshot wounds to the limbs. Reuters could not immediately verify the footage.

 

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Sudanese Forces Seize Explosives, Weapons during Khartoum Raid
07 May, 2019


Sudanese military personnel are positioned near a bridge gate during a sit-in protest outside the Defense Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan April 15, 2019. (Reuters)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Sudanese authorities announced Monday that they had seized modern weapons and explosives belts from a property in the capital Khartoum.

The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) forces seized explosives belts, guns including rifles fitted with silencers, devices used to detonate explosives remotely and satellite telephones during the operation, said the state news agency SUNA.

Acting on a tip, the RSF carried out the raid in al-Taif district.

It was not known if the weapons cache was linked in any way to the country’s current political crisis. The news agency did not say if anyone was arrested or who owned the weapons.

President Omar al-Bashir, who had been in power for 30 years, was ousted last month by the military following months of protests.

The demonstrations, which have been peaceful, have continued as opposition groups demand that the military, which currently rules through a Transitional Military Council, hand over power to civilians.

Ninety protesters have been killed in protest-related violence across Sudan since demonstrations against Bashir erupted in December, a doctors' committee said Monday.

The death toll given by the committee is higher than the official figure of 65 killed in such violence since December.

The committee linked to the Alliance of Freedom and Change -- the group leading the protests -- said the first deaths came on December 20.

That was one day after a demonstration in the central town of Atbara in response to a government decision to triple the price of bread.

It has compiled a list of 90 "martyrs" killed by security forces of Bashir's regime, the committee said.

In the latest case, a protester died Sunday of injuries suffered the previous day in clashes with soldiers and paramilitary forces in Nyala, the provincial capital of South Darfur state.

"Despite restrictions imposed by security forces and remnants of the regime that make it difficult to obtain death certificates, this is the list of martyrs collected from our reliable sources," the committee said.


 

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Jordan’s failure to arrest Bashir will not go to the UN
by Reuters -
7th May 2019



International Criminal Court.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will not refer Jordan to the UN Security Council for failure to arrest Sudanese war crimes suspect Omar al-Bashir when he visited Amman in 2017, judges said, reversing an earlier decision.

Bashir, ousted in April after 30 years in power, is the subject of two ICC arrest warrants over his alleged role in war crimes including genocide in Sudan’s Darfur province.

Jordan cited head of state immunity – customary under international law – as the reason for not arresting Bashir in 2017, but the ICC said immunity did not apply to Bashir due to alleged war crimes.

In a split ruling, a five-judge panel said Jordan should have arrested Bashir, its failure was not grounds for referral because Jordan tried to consult the court about the matter ahead of time.

“The appeals chamber confirms Jordan failed to comply with its obligations under the statute by failing to execute the court request for the arrest of Mr Al-Bashir and his surrender to the court, while he was in Amman on 29 March 2017,” presiding judge Chile Eboe-Osuji said.

Eboe-Osuji said referring Jordan to the UN for possible sanction went too far.

Under court rules, judges use their discretion on whether a violation is serious enough to prompt a referral.

“The Appeals Chamber finds merit in Jordan’s arguments and considers the Pre-Trial Chamber abused its discretion,” the judge said.
He noted South Africa, which failed to arrest Bashir during a 2015 visit, was also not referred to the UN.


 

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Sudan’s Transitional Military Council Suggests Amendments to Opposition’s Vision
8 May, 2019


Protesters at a mass Iftar in front of the Ministry of Defense’s headquarters in Khartoum (AFP)

Khartoum- Ahmed Younes and Aidarous Abdulaziz

Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) announced its vision for a solution during the transitional period, praising the constitutional draft proposed by the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces.

It also stressed that differences are narrowing, and it will not take long for the agreement to be announced, adding that it agrees with the opposition on the general structure of the transitional regime, including the proposal of the two councils.

However, the TMC pointed to some points of disagreement, including the omission of Sharia law as a source of legislation and subjection of the armed forces to the politicians’ control.

“Our view is that Islamic Sharia and the local norms and traditions in the Republic of Sudan should be the sources of legislation," TMC spokesman Lieutenant General Shams El Din Kabbashi told reporters.

The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces, an alliance of activists and opposition groups, sent the TMC the draft constitutional document on Thursday outlining its vision for the transitional period.

The draft describes the duties of a sovereign transitional council that the opposition groups hope will replace the TMC but does not specify who would sit on it. It also outlines the responsibilities of the Cabinet and a 120-member legislature.

Kabbashi noted that while there was some dispute, there was still room for negotiation, adding that some amendments were introduced to the alliance’s proposed draft.

Discussions with the opposition were ongoing, but calling early elections within six months would be an option if they could not reach an agreement, he said.

He also said the Council believes that the power to declare a state of emergency in the country should go to sovereign authority, not the Cabinet as the opposition suggested.

The transitional period should last two years, not four, which was the opposition's proposal, he added.

The TMC has “agreed on the mediation of some figures, who are keen on Sudan’s security and stability,” according to Kabbashi.

He noted that the mediation calls for the formation of a transitional sovereignty council including 10 members, in addition to the Defense Council, stressing that the reason behind forming and defining the security and defense council’s tasks is to protect the country and secure its national interests.


 

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Sudan army rulers delaying transition to civil rule, say protest leaders
8 May 2019

Sudanese protest leaders Wednesday accused the military rulers of delaying the transfer of power to a civilian administration, amid disagreements between the two sides over the country’s new governance structure.

“The military council’s response... is moving in the direction of extending the negotiation and not in the direction of transition” of power, the Alliance for Freedom and Change said in a statement.

The protest movement said the military council is looking to “prolong the negotiations” after the generals took over following the ousting of leader Omar al-Bashir on April 11.

The 10-member military council has said they agreed overall to proposals submitted by protest leaders, but have “many reservations.”

The two sides are grappling over whether an overall ruling council should have a civilian or military majority.

The Alliance for Freedom and Change has also remained silent on the military council’s aim for Islamic law to remain the bedrock of Sudanese legislation.

It said the generals had “irrelevant issues including the language and sources of legislation in a tedious repetition of the biddings of the former regime.”

“We call on the military council to reach an agreement to transfer power,” the protest leaders said.


 

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Sudan’s military council wants Islamic Sharia law to be source of legislation
8 May 2019

Sudan’s military rulers said on Tuesday they generally agreed with proposals made by protest leaders on the structure of an interim government, but want Islamic Sharia laws and local norms to guide legislation.

Protesters whose months of street demonstrations helped force longtime President Omar al-Bashir from office last month have kept up their demands for change, calling on the military officers, who took over, to hand over power to civilians.

Responding to a draft constitutional document presented by a coalition of protest groups and political parties, the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) noted that the document omitted Sharia law.

“Our view is that Islamic Sharia and the local norms and traditions in the Republic of Sudan should be the sources of legislation,” TMC spokesman Lieutenant General Shams El Din Kabbashi told reporters.

He also said the council believes that the power to declare a state of emergency in the country should go to the sovereign authority, not the Cabinet as the opposition suggested. The transitional period should last two years, not four, which was the opposition’s proposal, he said.

Discussions with the opposition were ongoing, but calling early elections within six months would be an option if they could not reach an agreement, Kabbashi said.

Former intelligence chief Salah Gosh was under house arrest, he added.

Another council member said more than four members of the TMC had resigned and that the TMC was dismantling an unofficial militia group, known as Popular Security, which was operated by Bashir’s party.

This came after Sudanese forces seized explosives belts, guns including rifles fitted with silencers, devices used to detonate explosives remotely and satellite telephones in a raid on a property in the capital Khartoum, on Monday

The TMC said on Tuesday that those weapons belonged to Popular Security.

The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces, an alliance of activists and opposition groups, sent the military council the draft constitutional document on Thursday outlining its vision for the transitional period.

Earlier on Tuesday, the main group spearheading protests in Sudan said that the TMC had responded to its plans for an interim government structure, and it would announce its position once it had studied the reply.

Amjad Farid, a spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which has played the leading role in the protests, said the council had sent a written reply.

“We will study the response and will announce our position later,” Farid told reporters.

The constitutional draft, seen by Reuters, describes the duties of a sovereign transitional council that the opposition groups hope will replace the TMC but does not specify who would sit on it. It also outlines the responsibilities of the Cabinet and a 120-member legislature.

The military removed Bashir on April 11 after months of demonstrations against his 30-year rule.

 

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Bashir’s Family Hires 4 Lawyers to his Defense
12 May, 2019 -


Former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. (Reuters)

Asharq Al-Awsat

The family of deposed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has appointed four lawyers to defend him against accusations of money laundering and possession of large sums of foreign currency without legal grounds.

A source from the family revealed that the lawyers include former parliament Speaker Ahmed Ibrahim al-Raher and former Defense Ministers Abdel Basit Sabderat and Omar Abdul Ati.

Some 50 figures have expressed readiness to defend Bashir, the source told the German dpa news agency on condition of anonymity on Saturday.

The prosecution question Bashir on Thursday in the absence of a lawyer, he revealed.

The prosecution defended its move, saying it was only carrying out a preliminary probe, he added.

Bashir was removed from office by the military on April 11 after months of demonstrations against his 30-year rule.


 

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Month after Bashir ouster, Sudan far from civilian rule
12 May 2019
AFP

  • The protest movement says the military appears intent on hijacking the revolution and determining its outcome
KHARTOUM: One month after ousting veteran President Omar Al-Bashir, Sudan’s military rulers show no sign of handing power to a civilian administration and talks with protest leaders remain deadlocked.

Thousands of protesters remain encamped outside army headquarters in central Khartoum, vowing to force the generals to cede power just as they forced Bashir from office.

“We want civilian rule or we will stay here forever,” said protester Iman Hussein, a regular at the sit-in which protesters have kept up since April 6.
Protesters initially gathered at the army complex to seek the generals’ help in ending AlBashir’s three decades of iron-fisted rule.

On April 11, the army toppled Bashir in a palace coup, replacing him with a military council formed entirely of generals that has shattered protesters’ dreams of a civilian-led transition to democracy.

The deepening economic crisis that fueled the four months of nationwide protests which led to Bashir’s ouster shows no sign of abating.

Huge queues form daily at ATM machines as the freezing up of the banking system forces consumers to use cash to buy basic goods made ever more expensive by the sliding value of the Sudanese pound.


The generals insist they will not use force to disperse the sit-in, which protesters have kept up through the daytime fasts observed by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.

The generals have offered several concessions to placate the protesters, including detaining Bashir in Khartoum’s Kober prison, arresting several of his lieutenants and promising to prosecute officers who killed protesters during the demonstrations against the old regime.

But when it comes to the protesters’ key demand for a civilian authority to oversee a four-year transition, the military has simply dragged its heels.

“They are pressuring us with time, but we are pressuring them with our presence here,” said protester Hussein.

“One of us has to win in the end, and it will be us.”

Last month, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, which brings together the protest movement and opposition and rebel groups, handed the generals its proposals for a civilian-led transition.

But the generals have expressed “many reservations” over the alliance’s roadmap.

They have singled out its silence on the constitutional position of Islamic sharia law which was the guiding principle of all legislation under Bashir’s rule but is anathema to secular groups like the Sudanese Communist Party and some rebel factions.

The protest movement says the military appears intent on hijacking the revolution and determining its outcome.

Protest leader Khalid Omar Yousef told reporters on Wednesday that the movement was now considering “escalatory measures” like launching a nationwide civil disobedience movement to achieve its demand.

The generals are under pressure too, with the United States and the African Union calling on them to ensure a smooth transition of power.
In a telephone call with military council chairman Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, backed “the Sudanese people’s aspirations for a free, democratic and prosperous future.”

The State Department said Sullivan encouraged Burhan to reach agreement with the Alliance for Freedom and Change and “move expeditiously toward a civilian-led interim government.”

Some members of the protest movement are optimistic however that the generals will ultimately cede power.

“They will hand over executive power to a civilian government if we present a credible, viable form of a civilian government,” opposition leader Sadiq Al-Mahdi, the prime minister Bashir overthrew in a 1989 coup, told AFP earlier this month.

“Because they know if ultimately they settle for a military dictatorship, they will be in the same position as Bashir.”

 

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Sudanese renew talks with army, call for new protests
Updated 13 sec ago
AP
May 13, 2019
  • A spokesman for the military council, said Monday's meeting, the first in over a week, was held "in a more optimistic atmosphere"
  • The protesters said late Sunday that they hope to secure commitments to a swift transfer of power in the three-day talks
KHARTOUM: Sudanese protesters resumed negotiations with the army on Monday while calling for renewed demonstrations to press the generals to hand over power to a civilian government.

The military removed President Omar Al-Bashir from power in April after four months of mass protests, but the demonstrators have remained in the streets, demanding the dismantling of his regime. In recent weeks they have threatened a general strike and civil disobedience.

Lt. Gen. Shams Al-Deen Al-Kabashi, a spokesman for the military council, said Monday's meeting, the first in over a week, was held "in a more optimistic atmosphere."

The protesters are represented by the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a coalition of opposition groups led by the Sudanese Professionals Association , which has spearheaded the protests since December.

The protesters said late Sunday that they hope to secure commitments to a swift transfer of power in the three-day talks.

The military agreed last month to recognize the FDFC as the uprising's only legitimate representative in a victory for the protesters. But the generals have called for other political parties — with the exception of Al-Bashir's National Congress Party — to be included in the transition.

The opposition has vowed to continue protests, centered on a sit-in outside the military headquarters in the capital, Khartoum. It has called for a series of nationwide protests, including another march to the main sit-in, for the coming week.

The two sides remain divided over what role the military, which is dominated by Al-Bashir appointees, should have in the transition period until elections can be held. The military wants to play a leading role in a transition lasting up to two years, while the protesters have demanded an immediate transition to a civilian-led authority.

The protesters fear the army will cling to power or select one of its own to succeed Al-Bashir. They also fear that Islamists and other factions close to the deposed leader, who is now jailed in Khartoum, will be granted a role in the transition.


 

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Sudan Protesters, Military Council Resume Talks
13 May, 2019


Protesters and the military council resume talks in Sudan. (Reuters)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Sudanese protest organizers and the ruling military council resumed on Monday efforts to find common ground on forming a transitional government.

Shams al-Deen al-Kabashi, a spokesman for the military council, said the meeting — the first in over a week — is being held "in a more optimistic atmosphere."

The protesters are represented by the Alliance for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a coalition of protest organizers and opposition and rebel groups.

The army overthrew longtime president Omar al-Bashir from power in April after months of anti-government popular protests and set up a transitional military council.

The protesters and council are divided over what role the military, dominated by Bashir appointees, should play in the transitional period.

The protesters demand a full transfer of power to a civilian government during this time.

The military seeks a two-year transitional period during which army generals would retain most of the power.

Late last month, the Alliance handed the generals its proposals for a civilian-led transition.

But the generals have expressed "many reservations" over the coalition’s roadmap.



 
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