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Sudan factions commit to implementing transition deal: US official

US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale arrives in Khartoum [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 7 August, 2019

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US Undersecretary for Political Affairs David Hale said he received "very strong pledges of commitment" from both Sudan's military rulers and protest movement.
Sudan's ruling generals and protest leaders have made "strong pledges of commitment" to bring about a transition to a civilian-led rule, a US official said Wednesday. 

US Undersecretary for Political Affairs David Hale was speaking after meeting with Sudan's military ruler Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, protest leaders and civil society figures.

The ruling military council and leaders of the country's protest movement signed a declaration on Sunday that paves the way for a transition to civilian rule after more than seven months of demonstrations and violence.

Hale said he had heard "very strong pledges of commitment by all the people I met to make the transition agreement work".

Addressing reporters at a press conference in Khartoum, he hailed the accord, mediated by Ethiopia and the African Union, as "historic".

"America is fully committed to helping Sudan transition to a civilian-led government that reflects the will of the Sudanese people," he said.

The agreement was the result of fraught negotiations between the leaders of mass protests against veteran ruler Omar al-Bashir and the generals who ousted him in April. 

Comment: Sudan's recent violence against protesters casts a shadow over power-sharing deal

Building on a power-sharing deal signed on July 17, it provides for a joint civilian-military ruling body that will oversee the formation of a civilian government and parliament to govern for a three-year transition period.

The pact, welcomed both domestically and internationally, will be formally signed in the presence of foreign dignitaries on August 17. 

The talks were repeatedly suspended and remained deadlocked for weeks after a brutal raid on a protest camp in Khartoum on June 3, widely blamed on Sudan's ruling generals, killed at least 127 people.

At least 127 people were killed, according to doctors linked to the protesters. Officials have given a much lower death toll.

Sudan has been on the State Department's State Sponsors of Terrorism list since 1993 over the Bashir regime's alleged support for Islamist militants. 

The designation has devastated Sudan's economy.

An Ethiopian mediator has said Sunday's deal could help pave the way to Sudan being removed from the list, but Hale confirmed Wednesday that the designation "remains in effect".

Bashir is now being held in a prison in Khartoum, facing trial on corruption charges.

He has been charged by the Hague-based International Criminal Court with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the devastating conflict in Sudan's Darfur region.

Bashir denies the charges.

The Darfur conflict flared in 2003 when ethnic African rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated government of Bashir, accusing it of marginalising the region economically and politically.

The United Nations says the conflict has left more than 300,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced.

After Bashir's ouster, ICC prosecutors demanded he stand trial for mass killings in Darfur.

Sudan's ruling generals have so far ruled out transferring him to the court in The Hague. 

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