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Sudan mediators propose 2 transition councils: protest leader

Mediators have proposed an overall package that includes not just the proposed two councils [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 May, 2019

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A protest leader on Sunday said Sudanese mediators facilitating talks between the army rulers and protest leaders have proposed the country have two transition councils.
Sudanese mediators facilitating talks between the army rulers and protest leaders have proposed the country have two transition councils, with one led by generals overseeing security, a protest leader said on Sunday.

The mediators' apparent proposal comes as talks over forming an overall governing council remain deadlocked, with the existing military council and protest leaders offering differing visions, after president Omar al-Bashir was deposed last month.

"There is a proposal (from the mediators) to have two councils, one led by civilians and the other by military," said Omar al-Digeir, a senior opposition leader and member of the umbrella protest group the Alliance for Freedom and Change.

"The (new) military council (which will also include civilian representatives) will be looking at issues concerning the security aspects of the country," he told AFP.

The "exact job description" of both the councils has yet to be decided, he said. "No final decision has been taken yet."

Thousands of protesters remain encamped outside the army headquarters in Khartoum, demanding the current 10-member army council that took power after the ouster of Bashir be replaced by a civilian administration.

The current army council has so far resisted handing over power to civilians.

It was still unclear whether both the sides would agree to the idea of having two councils, or if they would stick to the earlier proposal of one joint civilian-military ruling body.

Differences emerged between the two sides initially over the composition of the joint council - the generals demanded a majority of military figures, while protest leaders insisted the body be civilian lead.

Digeir said the mediators - a group of businessmen, journalists and other prominent figures from Sudanese society - have proposed an overall package that includes not just the proposed two councils, but also how an executive and legislative body would work in a post-Bashir era.

Protesters initially gathered outside the military complex on April 6, demanding that the army oust Bashir.

But since April 11 - the day the army removed the president - they have maintained their sit-in, to keep up the pressure for a civilian administration.

The African Union has given Sudan's military rulers another 60 days to hand over power to a civilian authority or face suspension, after an earlier deadline was missed.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the AU Peace and Security Council said it "notes with deep regret, however, that the Sudanese Military has not stepped aside and has not handed over power to a civilian-led transitional Authority" within the initial deadline.

But it announced "an additional period of up to sixty days for the military in The Sudan to hand over power to a civilian-led Transitional Authority".

The PSC said it "reiterates its conviction that a military-led transition in the Sudan will be totally unacceptable and contrary to the will and legitimate aspirations, to democratic institutions and processes, as well as respect for human rights and freedoms of the Sudanese people".

The AU granted the extension after acknowledging "the gradual progress made so far by the Sudanese parties in the negotiations towards an agreement on the modalities, structures and timelines of a civilian-led Transitional Authority".

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