The Military Council in power in Sudan and representatives of the demonstrators announced this Wednesday morning, after marathon negotiations, an agreement to establish a political transition period of three years before the transfer of power to civilians.
"We reached an agreement for a transition period of three years," said General Yasser Atta, a member of the Military Council that took power after the overthrow of Omar Al Bashir on April 11. The protests began in December following a sharp rise in the price of bread.
Madani Abbas Madani, a representative of the Alliance for Freedom and Change (ALC), spearhead of the protest movement, confirmed the agreement. So far, the protesters demanded a transition period of four years, while the Army wanted to reduce it to two.
According to General Atta, the first six months of the transition period will be devoted to closing peace agreements with rebel movements in western and southern Sudan. As for the future legislative assembly, it will be formed by 300 members, up to 67% of which will be representatives of the demonstrators, grouped in the ALC. The rest of the assembly will be formed by political forces not affiliated with this movement.
The coalition demands that the power be transferred to a civil authority and is supported by the demonstrators who camp outside the army headquarters in Khartoum since April 6. The general did not mention any agreement on the composition of the Sovereign Council, which will be the high authority of the transition period that will have to transfer power to civilians. But Atta promised "a total agreement in less than 24 hours."
The discussions between the Military Council and the ALC began on Monday. On the first day, there was a quick understanding of the structure of the institutions of the transition period, which would include a Sovereign Council, a Cabinet and a Legislative Assembly. But violent acts that left six dead – five civilians and a soldier – and numerous wounded, according to medical and military sources, weakened the negotiations.
Madani Abbas Madani said that both sides decided to form a commission of inquiry into the violence on Monday night. Bakr Faizal, another opposition leader, called for the creation of an investigative commission to "identify and punish those responsible for this violence." For its part, the Council blamed the violence on "elements" that try to make the political process fail.
But the ALC accused the Army. "We attribute all responsibility for what happened yesterday (Monday) to the Military Council, because it is in charge of the protection of the protesters," said a leader of the protest movement, Mohamed Naji al Asam, at a press conference. However, this did not prevent the dialogues from resuming on Tuesday afternoon.
This Tuesday, calm reigned in the capital. However, in the nearby city of Omdurman, dozens of protesters blocked traffic routes and burned tires. In the place of the sit-in, in front of the Army General Headquarters in Khartoum, the demonstrators pointed their finger at the defenders of the regime of the ousted Omar Al Bashir. Some accused the controversial unit of the Rapid Support Force.
This unit, composed of militiamen who are accused by human rights groups of having perpetrated abuses in Darfur, is part of the Sudanese army. The Rapid Support Force operates under the command of General Mohamad Hamdan Daglo, who is also deputy head of the Transitional Military Council.
The bloody incidents of Monday night took place in a tense context: on Sunday night, protesters blocked a large road in Khartoum, the Nile Street, accusing the military of having closed a bridge leading to the site of its permanent sitting
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