Army, opposition agree to 3-year transition

Cheryl Sanders
May 18, 2019

Army generals and protest leaders had been expected to finalise the make-up of a new ruling body to govern Sudan for three years, the thorniest issue in installing civilian rule.

But on Tuesday, following the previous night's violence in and around the Khartoum sit-in, protesters vented their anger on the streets of the capital's twin city Omdurman.

"We chose to suspend the negotiations over civil rule for 72 hours to help prepare an atmosphere for completing the deal", Burhan said, demanding that protesters dismantle roadblocks in Khartoum, open bridges connecting the capital and other regions and "stop provoking security forces".

The protest group that spearheaded the campaign against Bashir said the generals wanted the demonstrators to restrict themselves to the sit-in area where thousands have camped for weeks in central Khartoum, demanding civilian rule.

The protest movement vowed to press on with the "sit-in outside the army headquarters and across the country".

Protester Mohamed expressed disappointment over the suspended negotiations, saying they had "delayed so many times and there have been so many assaults on us". "They want to provoke the people by delaying the negotiations. but the negotiations will resume now that the roadblocks have been removed", said Moatassim Sayid, a protester at the sit-in.

It was the military's duty to intervene to protect peaceful protesters and remove a president who elected to use deadly force against them, they argue.

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But protest leaders and the military were quick to say negotiations would continue and announced late Tuesday that a committee was set up to investigate the attack.

The military council, which took over after overthrowing the long-ruling Bashir last month, blamed the violence on saboteurs unhappy with the transition deal.

On Monday, similar clashes left five dead, including an army officer, and more than 200 wounded.

The two sides split the difference on a timeline for Sudan's elections between the opposition's demand for a four-year transition and the military's wanting two years.

Discussions between the two sides that started on Monday to determine the makeup of the transitional body have been overshadowed by violence.

The first six months of the transition would be devoted to reaching peace accords with rebels in war zones including Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

Atta also said that, during the transitional period, the Parliament will be composed of 300 members, of which 67 percent will be from the Alliance for Freedom and Change and the rest will be from other political groups.

"All powers will be in the cabinet's hand, which will be formed by the Alliance for Freedom and Change", he said.

Such a council will determine the real wielders of power in Sudan during the transition period before an eventual return to civilian rule.

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