Sudan factions delay post-coup deal on civilian rule
AUTHOR: AFP | PUBLISHED: April 2, 2023
Protesters march in the Bashdar district in the south of Sudan's capital Khartoum on December 19, 2022 during a demonstration against a tentative deal aimed at ending the crisis provoked by last year's military coup | Credit |
Sudanese leaders have postponed the signing of an agreement planned for Saturday to resume a short-lived democratic transition, an official said, amid continued disagreement between military factions.
A coup in October 2021 led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan had derailed the process that began following the 2019 ouster of Islamist general Omar al-Bashir.
A new meeting between military and civilian factions has been set for later on Saturday, said Khaled Omar Youssef, a civilian official removed from office and arrested during Burhan’s coup, who now serves as spokesman for the talks.
Representatives have for weeks been negotiating an agreement, the final part in a two-phase political process launched in December to set out the terms for reviving the transition to civilian-led rule and democratic elections.
Instead of the long-awaited ceremony expected on Saturday, officials will meet in the afternoon to “agree on a new date for signing the final political accord, which could not be signed” due to “the lack of consensus on certain issues”, Youssef said in a statement.
Reform of the security forces is a key point of contention in the talks, which envisage an exit of generals from politics once a civilian government is installed.
Critics have decried as “vague” the December deal, agreed by Burhan with multiple factions after near-weekly protests since the 2021 coup.
The proposed reforms include the integration into the regular army of the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by Burhan’s deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.
Created in 2013, the RSF emerged from the Janjaweed militia that Bashir unleashed a decade earlier in the western region of Darfur against non-Arab rebels. The militia has since been accused by rights groups of having committed war crimes.
While experts have pointed to worrying rivalries between Burhan and Daglo, the two men appeared side by side last week, speaking in the capital Khartoum to plead for a successful integration.
But talks have stalled since, according to observers, with persistent disputes over a timetable for the RSF’s integration.