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Sudan Opposition Member to Asharq Al-Awsat: Differences Exist over Representation at Sovereign Council

Sudan Opposition Member to Asharq Al-Awsat: Differences Exist over Representation at Sovereign Council

Monday, 20 May, 2019 - 05:45
Sudanese demonstrators march with national flags as they gather during a rally outside the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum on April 13, 2019. (AP)

The Freedom and Change Forces alliance criticized the ruling transitional military council’s suspension for three days the negotiations on the three-year transition period. The council had said that talks would resume after barricades are removed from the protest site in Khartoum.

Member of the negotiations committee Madani Abbas Madani said that the alliance removed the new barricades because they leave the protesters vulnerable to snipers in nearby buildings.

“I believe that this issue is related more to differences within the council than the behavior of the protesters,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He added that the alliance “remained calm” when the military council suspended the negotiations, because it wants to lead Sudan towards a transition period.

The alliance should have been the one to suspend talks because the council failed to sufficiently protect the protesters and this has ultimately seen four people killed and 200 injured, he remarked.

“Despite the casualties, we have carried on with the negotiations because we want the transition to take place. This is what the people rallied and died for,” he stressed.

The revolt, he continued, is keen on dismantling the former regime.

“We are serious about reaching an agreement on remaining points of contention related to the distribution of seats in the sovereign council and its chair,” Madani said.

Moreover, he warned of efforts by a third party to sabotage the revolt, noting that the military council would be partially held responsible for such a development.

“We have repeatedly informed the council that efforts must be exerted to eliminate the deep state and measures must be put in place to protect the revolt. This includes the arrest of security forces officials,” Madani added.

“We hold the council responsible for the deaths because it has a duty to provide protection and security. It is not responsible for the powers that have committed crimes and stoked unrest,” he went on to say.

The negotiations are due to resume on Monday evening.

The military council had suspended the talks late on Wednesday after two outbreaks of violence around protest sites in Khartoum.

“We are serious about negotiations to form a civilian government,” Madani added. “This will help dismantle the deep state, which is the reason the revolt erupted in the first place.”

Asked if the opposition would remove barricades if they were ordered to, he replied: “Of course not… The barricades were set up after people were assaulted. We believe that efforts should be focused on the sit-in site so that it can transform into a meeting place for people who share a common goal.”

On the sovereign council, he said that several proposals have been brought forward.

“We presented a sovereign civilian council with military representation, while the other side presented a military council with civilian representation,” he remarked. “Civilian rule has three levels. The sovereign one must be dominated by the civilian voice.”

Street protests and a sit-in outside the Defense Ministry have continued since the army ousted and arrested former President Omar al-Bashir on April 11.

Demonstrators are calling for a rapid transition to civilian rule, and demanding justice over the deaths of dozens of people killed since protests triggered by an economic crisis and decades of repressive rule spread across Sudan from December 19.

The military council and the Freedom and Change Forces have agreed on a three-year transition before elections, but have been deadlocked over whether civilians or the military would control a sovereign council that would hold ultimate power.

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