Sudan Intensifies Talks to Add More Signatories to Final Agreement

Protesters rally in Khartoum to demand civilian rule on March 14. (AFP)
Protesters rally in Khartoum to demand civilian rule on March 14. (AFP)
TT

Sudan Intensifies Talks to Add More Signatories to Final Agreement

Protesters rally in Khartoum to demand civilian rule on March 14. (AFP)
Protesters rally in Khartoum to demand civilian rule on March 14. (AFP)

The Sudanese military and civilian parties that signed the framework political agreement are scheduled to finish developing a full-fledged draft of the final political agreement on Wednesday after including the outcomes of the security and military reform workshop into the deal.

Army commanders, members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), retired officers, experts in the security and military fields, and representatives of the civil forces took part in the Khartoum workshop for the third consecutive day.

The army and the Rapid Support Forces each presented during a paper on security and military reform.

All the workshop sessions are closed to the media because of the sensitivity of the security and military issues being discussed.

The political parties stated on their official Facebook page that the participants presented theoretical and practical proposals to reform the police and public intelligence services in line with the prospective democratic system.

The participants, including over 300 civilians and military personnel, are set to discuss the integration of the RSF, headed by the deputy head of the Sovereign Council, Mohammad Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, into the unified army as agreed upon by all parties.

The workshop, sponsored by the Tripartite Mechanism and the Freedom and Change coalition, will conclude on Wednesday evening and then submit its recommendations to the final agreement drafting committee.

Meanwhile, the signatories of the political framework agreement continued their discussions with the opposing parties affiliated with the Democratic Bloc coalition to persuade them to join the political process and sign the final deal to establish a civil democratic transition.

Some armed movements, such as the Justice and Equality movement led by Gibril Ibrahim, the Sudan Liberation Army led by Minni Arko Minnawi, and a branch of the Democratic Unionist Party, led by Gaafar al-Mirghani, refuse to engage in the political process without the participation of the rest of the members of their bloc.

The final agreement is based on the Framework Agreement, the Political Declaration, and the recommendations of the five conferences. The recommendations are dismantling the regime of ousted president Omar al-Bashir, the “correction” of the Juba Peace Agreement, reaching a solution to the crisis in the eastern region, and achieving transitional justice, as well as the security and military reform workshop.

The agreement drafting committee delivered on Monday the initial draft of the final political agreement to the military and civilian parties in the presence of the Tripartite Mechanism.

The Tripartite Mechanism facilitates dialogue between Sudanese parties and consists of the African Union (AU), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the UN.

Officials agreed on the final dates for the political process, starting with the signing of the final agreement on Apr. 1, the signing of the constitution on Apr. 6, and the formation of the institutions of the transitional authority on Apr. 11.



Gantz: Netanyahu Hindering Prisoner Exchange Deal in Gaza for Political Reasons

Former member of Israel's three-man war Cabinet, Benny Gantz (AP)
Former member of Israel's three-man war Cabinet, Benny Gantz (AP)
TT

Gantz: Netanyahu Hindering Prisoner Exchange Deal in Gaza for Political Reasons

Former member of Israel's three-man war Cabinet, Benny Gantz (AP)
Former member of Israel's three-man war Cabinet, Benny Gantz (AP)

Benny Gantz, former member of Israel's three-man war Cabinet, said on Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu obstructed a prisoner exchange deal with Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip for “political reasons.”
In an interview with Israel’s public broadcaster, Gantz said that “for many months, there has been a consensus about the battle and what needs to be done... And over time, this approach has changed and we've seen other considerations.”
He said that in a prisoner swap deal, the war cabinet agrees on a certain parameter, which is then approved and ratified by Netanyahu. “We then transfer this parameter to Israel’s negotiation team,” Gantz explained.
However, he added, Netanyahu was under pressure and he stopped the negotiating team from accomplishing the task.
The former member of the war cabinet considered that Netanyahu delayed the prisoner exchange deal based on personal political calculations.
Commenting on the escalation of tension between Israel and Hezbollah, Gantz said he prefers a political settlement on the northern border with Lebanon rather than continuing and intensifying the war.
“I understand this is a tough war, but perhaps it's inevitable. If we can stop it with political pressure, we will, and if that doesn't work, we have to move on,” he affirmed.
Last Sunday, Gantz announced his resignation from the war cabinet. He had previously said he would leave the government if Netanyahu did not formulate a new plan for postwar Gaza, AFP reported.
In a televised address, Gantz announced: “(Benjamin) Netanyahu is preventing us from progressing to a real victory. That is why we are leaving the emergency government today with a heavy heart.”
He then called for an agreed-upon date for early parliamentary elections. “There should be elections that will eventually establish a government that will win the trust of the people and be able to face challenges. I call on Netanyahu: set an agreed election date.”
On Sunday evening, right-wing National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir Ben-Gvir demanded a spot in the war Cabinet to replace Gantz.