End of crisis? Agreement in Sudan on transitional government

The Military Council in power in Sudan and the leaders of the protest movement have agreed on a constitutional declaration to usher in a new period for a transitional government. That is what the African Union mediator, Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt, announced today.

The document, which defines the powers and the interrelation between the branches of the transitional government, comes after weeks of negotiations mediated by the African Union and neighboring country Ethiopia, while violence broke out regularly in the capital Khartoum and other cities.

In July an agreement had already been signed between the military and the opposition. That was the first step towards a civilian government. The Sudanese have been demanding such a government for almost seven months. For example, the agreement provides for a “sovereign council”, a transition body in charge of the transition for about three years. That council, based on the principle of power-sharing, will consist of five soldiers and six civilians. Five citizens come from the Alliance for Freedom and Change, the engine of the protest movement.

“The two delegations fully agreed with the constitutional statement,” Lebatt told the press after two days of negotiations. The agreement will be signed during an official ceremony. The mediator did not elaborate on the content of the document but stated that today the delegations would further discuss the details of the signature procedure. It is not yet clear when the new transitional government will start working.

For many residents of capital Khartoum, the news about the agreement reached was a reason to celebrate in the street. Cars drove through the streets and some sang the national anthem.

Stability in Sudan is crucial for the entire region from the Horn of Africa to Libya, which is being torn apart by conflict and power struggles. The new agreement should pave the way for a political transition after the military council dismissed former President Omar al-Bashir in April after months of protests against his regime.

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