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Sudanese Civilian Parties Sign Framework Deal for New Political Transition

Sudanese Civilian Parties Sign Framework Deal for New Political Transition

Monday, 5 December, 2022 - 10:15
Sudanese protesters deploy a giant national flag, as they march outside the UN headquarters in the Manshiya district of the capital Khartoum, on December 3, 2022. (AFP)

Sudan’s ruling generals and the main pro-democracy group on Monday signed a framework deal until elections.

The deal pledges to establish a new, civilian-led transitional government to guide the country to elections and offers a path forward in the wake of Sudan's stalled transition to democracy following the October 2021 coup.

The deal — the first of at least two planned accords — was signed by Sudan’s two ruling generals, Abdel-Fattah Burhan and Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, and the leaders from the country's largest pro-democracy group, Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, at the Khartoum Republican Palace.

However, several of Sudan’s key dissenting political forces have boycotted the deal, including Sudan’s grassroots pro-democracy network, known as the Resistance Committee, which has continually refused to negotiate with the ruling generals.

According to the draft, the deal envisions Sudan’s military step back from politics. The agreement also stipulates that the “revolutionary forces” that signed the deal will decide upon a new prime minister to oversee a two-year transition, a 24-month period that begins after a premier is appointed.

In response to the signing, the pro-democracy Resistance Committee leaders called for demonstrations against the agreement.

The deal is roughly based on a draft transitional constitution proposed Sudan’s Bar Association in September. It does not address details concerning thornier political issues, such as a transitional judiciary system and the implementation of military reforms, which have been left for a follow-up accord.

It also stipulates that the military will form part of a new “security and defense council” under the appointed prime minister. The agreement also vows to unify Sudan’s armed forces and subject controls on military-owned companies.

Sudan has been plugged into turmoil since its leading military figure, Burhan, mounted the October 2021 coup that upended the country’s former democratic transition after three decades of rule by Omar al-Bashir. The former leader was toppled in April 2019 following a popular uprising.

The UN special envoy to Sudan, Volker Perthes, attended Monday's signing and later, at a speech at the palace, described the deal as “Sudanese-owned and Sudanese-led.”

The United States and its partners welcomed the agreement and urged all parties to make a concerted effort to finalize negotiations on a new civilian-led government.

"This is the key to unlocking the resumption of international development assistance and deeper cooperation between the government of Sudan and international partners," the countries said in a joint statement.

"We are working with partners to coordinate significant economic support to a civilian-led transitional government to help address the challenges facing the people of Sudan."

Participating countries include Norway, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Britain and the US.

Monday's development came after months of negotiations between the military and the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, facilitated by a four-part mediating team, including the US, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Britain.

The deal will hope to drawn in new international aid, after donor funds dried up in response to the coup. In recent months, bread and fuel shortages, caused in part by the war in Ukraine, have become routine in Sudan.

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