Protests as Sudan military, parties sign initial transition deal

Both sides agree on a plan for an eventual transition to civilian rule, but further talks are needed, and protesters say transitional justice must be included.

Sudanese demonstrators attend a rally to demand the return to civilian rule a year after a military coup, in Khartoum, Sudan, Nov. 17, 2022. Sudan’s ruling generals and the main pro-democracy group signed a framework deal until elections on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, but key dissenters have stayed out of the agreement.
Sudanese opposition groups have been protesting regularly since a military coup in October 2021 [File: Marwan Ali/AP Photo]

Sudan’s military and political parties have signed a framework deal that provides for a two-year, civilian-led transition towards elections and would end a standoff triggered by a coup in October 2021.

However, key dissenters, including anti-military protest groups and factions loyal to former leader Omar al-Bashir, who was overthrown in 2019, oppose it.

The initial agreement signed on Monday would limit the military’s formal role to a security and defence council headed by a prime minister, but leaves sensitive issues including transitional justice and security sector reform for further talks.

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

It is the first of at least two planned accords and 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 of Freedom and Change, at the Republican Palace in Khartoum.

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

They believe that transitional justice and security sector reform must be included in any deal from the start.

Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from the Republican Palace, said that anti-military protesters say the deal “doesn’t meet their aspirations” and that they had been “excluded from the talks”.

Protests broke out in at least two areas of Khartoum before the signing ceremony at the presidential palace.

The United States and several other countries on Monday welcomed the signing of the deal.

The US, Norway, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom “welcome the agreement of an initial political framework,” a joint statement issued by the US State Department said.

The military has not appointed a new prime minister since last year’s coup, which halted a power-sharing arrangement between the military and the FFC.

The coup led to more than a year of mass protests against the military and the suspension of billions of dollars in international financial assistance, deepening an economic crisis.

Source: Reuters