Sudan protesters, generals reach 'full' agreement on civilian rule
August 03 2019 11:01 PM
Sudanese demonstraters wave their national flag as they celebrate in Khartoum early on Thursday, aft
Sudanese demonstraters wave their national flag as they celebrate in Khartoum early on Thursday, after Sudan's ruling generals and protest leaders reached a "full agreement" on the constitutional declaration.

AFP/Khartoum

Protest leaders have reached "full agreement" with Sudan's ruling generals on Saturday on a hard-won constitutional declaration, the African Union said, paving the way for a promised transition to civilian rule.

Thousands of jubilant Sudanese took to the streets of the capital Khartoum when the deal was announced before dawn to celebrate the prospect of a civilian government.

The declaration builds on a landmark power-sharing deal signed on July 17 and provides for a joint civilian-military ruling body to oversee the formation of a transitional civilian government and parliament to govern for a three-year transition period.

The deal is the fruit of difficult negotiations between the leaders of the mass protests which erupted last December against the three-decade rule of president Omar al-Bashir and the generals who eventually ousted him in April.

"I am announcing to the Sudanese, African and international public opinion that the two delegations have fully agreed on the constitutional declaration," AU mediator Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt told reporters.

He said further meetings would be held to work out the technical details of the deal and discuss the signing ceremony.

An initial inking of the agreement is expected to take place on today, protest leaders said, ahead of a formal signing in front of foreign dignitaries.

The talks between the protest movement and the generals had been repeatedly interrupted by deadly violence against demonstrators.

They were suspended for weeks after men in military uniform broke up a long-running protest camp outside army headquarters in Khartoum on June 3, killing at least 127 people according to doctors close to the protest movement.

They were briefly suspended again earlier this week when paramilitaries shot dead six demonstrators in the city of Al-Obeid, four of them schoolchildren.

The Arab League welcomed the agreement saying the signing of the constitutional declaration "would launch a new and important phase in line with the Sudanese people's aspirations".

Sudan's army ruler Abdel Fattah al-Burhan lauded the "long-awaited deal" in an interview on Saudi broadcaster Al-Hadath.

Demonstrators among the crowds that took to the streets in the early hours hailed victory in their struggle for a new Sudan.

"For us, the revolution succeeded now and our country set foot on the road towards civilian rule," said 25-year-old Ahmed Ibrahim as he joined the cavalcade of vehicles that criss-crossed the streets of Khartoum, horns blazing.

Doctors linked to protest umbrella group the Alliance for Freedom and Change say more than 250 people have been killed in protest-related violence since December.

Protest leaders said they had won the military's agreement that the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) irregulars would be integrated in the army chain of command.

"The paramilitary RSF will report to the head of the armed forces," said protest leader Monzer Abu al-Maali.

Many Sudanese expressed relief that an end was finally in sight to the seven and a half months of protests and political unrest that have gripped the increasingly impoverished country.

"It is good that we reached an agreement but it is unacceptable to forget the blood of the martyrs," said 22-year old Mohamed Yasine.

"It's the martyrs who drove us to this defining moment."

But protest leader Madani Abbas Madani vowed that there would be no impunity.

The protest movement's legal affairs negotiator Ibtisam al-Sanhouri said the consitutional declaration sets the stage for a parliamentary system with a civilian prime minister.

The premier will be nominated by the protest movement and confirmed by the new sovereign council, which will have a civilian majority, Sanhouri said.

The protest movement will be allocated 201 of the 300 seats in the new parliament, she added.



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