Khartoum : Sudan’s top general says the ruling military council will be dissolved after the formation of a new power-sharing body that will rule the country.
The military and pro-democracy leaders agreed last week on a joint sovereign council that will rule for a little over three years while elections are organised. A military leader will head the council for the first 21 months followed by a civilian leader for the next 18.
Gen. Abdul Fattah Al Burhan, head of the military council, said in TV comments late Sunday the army could withdraw from governing the country after the end of the first 21 months.
He said the military is discussing the candidates for the sovereign council with the Force for Declaration of Freedom and Change, which represents the protest movement.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the power-sharing agreement came after the United States and its Arab allies applied intense pressure on both sides amid fears a prolonged crisis could tip the country into civil war, activists and officials said.
The agreement, which raised hopes of a democratic transition following the military overthrow of long-ruling autocrat Omar Al Bashir in April, was announced days after the protesters held mass marches through Khartoum and other areas.
But those familiar with the negotiations say the main breakthrough happened at a secret meeting the day before the protests, when diplomats from the US and its allies pressed the two sides to accept proposals from the African Union and Ethiopia.
“It was a tense but crucial meeting. It melted the ice,” a leading activist said on condition of anonymity to discuss the back-room negotiations. “The meeting was the cornerstone of Friday’s deal.”
The two sides agreed on a jointly run sovereign council that will rule for a little over three years while elections are organised. A military leader will head the council for the first 21 months followed by a civilian leader for the next 18.
They also agreed on an independent Sudanese investigation into security forces’ deadly crackdown on the protests last month - though it’s unclear if anyone will be held accountable. The military also agreed to restore the internet after a weekslong blackout.
Much could still go wrong, and last month’s violence erupted at a similarly hopeful moment. But for now the deal appears to be on track, with the two sides expected to formally sign it this week.
Two leading activists, a Sudanese military official and two Egyptian officials described intense US efforts to force a deal after veteran diplomat Donald Booth was appointed special envoy in mid-June. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the talks.
State Department officials declined to comment on US efforts to broker the deal, saying only that Washington welcomes the agreement and commends the AU and Ethiopia for their mediation efforts.
The US and its allies also put pressure on the protesters, who are represented by a coalition known as the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change. The activists say the US and Arab countries reached out to individual factions, which then threatened to negotiate separately with the military. Protest leaders gave in when it appeared the coalition was at risk of fracturing.