Sudan: Military, protest leaders sign historic transition deal

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Sudan’s ruling military council and the main opposition coalition on Saturday inked a final agreement for a transitional government.

The Constitutional Declaration, which was reached on August 4, paves the way for a return to civilian rule following the military overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in April.

The historic deal was signed during a ceremony at a hall by the River Nile in the capital Khartoum, witnessed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, and the heads of other neighboring countries.

Read more: Sudan plots path towards democracy

The deal brings an end to nearly eight months of upheaval that saw masses mobilize, first against Bashir’s 30-year authoritarian rule, and then against the military.

More than 250 people were killed during the unrest, including scores in June when armed men in military fatigues move in on the protest camp outside the army headquarters and dispersed the thousands still gathered there.

Months of wrangling

The military and the main opposition alliance, known as the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), have been negotiating the power-sharing agreement for months.

The composition of the civilian-majority transition ruling council, which will consist of 11 members, is to be announced on Sunday.

Read more: EU suspends migration control projects in Sudan amid repression fears

On Thursday, former senior United Nations official Abdalla Hamdok, a veteran economist, was designated as transitional prime minister.

His first job will be to try to stabilize Sudan’s languishing economy, left in tatters in 2011 when the oil-rich south gained its independence.

Sudan’s stability is seen as crucial for a volatile region struggling with conflict and insurgencies from the Horn of Africa to Egypt and Libya.

But skeptics question whether the ruling council will be able to keep a tight grip on the military’s power during the three-year period leading to planned elections.

mm/jlw (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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