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African Mediation Announces Imminent Agreement in Sudan

African Mediation Announces Imminent Agreement in Sudan

Wednesday, 3 July, 2019 - 09:45
Sudanese protesters rally near the military headquarters during a demonstration in the capital Khartoum. (AFP)

The joint African-Ethiopian mediation has confirmed that an agreement between the Sudanese Transitional Military Council (TMC) and Forces of the Freedom and Change Declaration is “imminent”, announcing that both parties will be invited to direct negotiations on Wednesday.

African Union (AU) mediator Mohamed El-Hassan Labat told a press conference held Tuesday in Khartoum that most of the two sides’ proposals were incorporated into a new document, except for the dispute over the formation of the “sovereign council”.

Labat added that constructive proposals had been reached and would be included in the final document, asserting that “the main point of contention revolves around the formation of the body [sovereign council] that will lead the transition process.”

He noted that if an agreement was reached on the council before the joint meeting, it will be included in the document, otherwise, it will be the first point discussed on the first joint agenda and the mediation will be ready to help overcome the difficulties.

The mediator confirmed that the agreement between the Council and the coalition is “just around the corner.”

The regional official appealed to the press and the international community to support mediation efforts aimed at reaching an appropriate solution that opens the horizons for realizing the aspirations of the Sudanese people.

Ethiopian envoy Mahmoud Dreir said mediation had set a date for the direct negotiations between the two sides.

The AU had set June 30 as a deadline for the military to hand over power to civilians, after which it froze Sudan's membership in the organization.

Labat announced that the AU will hold a summit in Niamey, Niger, on July 7 and 8, adding that the African Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to hold a meeting on the situation in Sudan.

The opposition coalition had organized several protests in Khartoum and 30 other cities on Sunday which saw the participation of millions to demand the handover of power to civilians and bringing killers of the June 3 crackdown on protesters to justice.

However, the junta authorities faced the protesters with excessive violence, live ammunition and tear gas, killing 11 people.

Meanwhile, the US State Department condemned the use of live ammunition against peaceful protesters.

State Department spokeswoman Peri Farbstein said peaceful demonstrations in Khartoum and many other cities across Sudan on June 30 assert the Sudanese people's demand for a transitional government led by civilians.

Farbstein told Asharq Al-Awsat that the use of live ammunition against peaceful demonstrators is reprehensible and that the military authorities should be held accountable for the resulting deaths.

The spokesman did not mention any steps the US might take as a result of the recent escalation, knowing that US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East African affairs and Sudan Makela James warned last week that Washington was “considering all options, including sanctions at any time, if such violence is repeated.”

Farbstein called on the TMC and Forces of Freedom and Change to agree on a government led by civilians, asserting the support of State Department to the efforts of the AU and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his mediation team.

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