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US welcomes Sudan power-sharing deal as ‘important step forward’

Published: July 7, 2019
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The United States on Saturday welcomed a provisional agreement forged by Sudan’s ruling military council and a coalition of opposition and protest groups to share power for three years as an “important step forward.”

Reported by Reuters, the US State Department said in statement that special envoy for Sudan Donald Booth will return to the region soon.

The agreement brokered by the African Union and Ethiopia Union, announced on Friday, is due to be finalised on Monday.

“The agreement between the Forces for Freedom and Change and the Transitional Military Council to establish a sovereign council is an important step forward,” the State Department said. “We look forward to immediate resumption of access to the internet, establishment of the new legislature, accountability for the violent suppression of peaceful protests, and progress toward free and fair elections.”

The deal revived hopes for a peaceful transition of power in a country plagued by internal conflicts and years of economic crisis that helped to trigger the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir in April.

Relations between the military council that took over from Bashir and the Forces for Freedom and Change alliance broke down when security forces killed dozens of people as they cleared a sit-in on June 3. But after huge protests against the military on Sunday, African mediators brokered a return to direct talks.

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Sudan’s pro-democracy movement, which drove longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir from power in April, has welcomed a power-sharing agreement with the ruling military council as a victory for their “revolution.” “Today, our revolution has won and our victory shines,” the statement said. The Sudanese Professionals’ Association has spearheaded protests calling for civilian rule.

Leaders of Sudan's protests have agreed to hold direct talks with the ruling military generals after the African Union and Ethiopian mediators urged both sides to resume stalled negotiations about a new governing body.   The TMC and the opposition coalition have been wrangling for weeks over what form Sudan's transitional government should take after the military deposed long-time president Omar al-Bashir on April 11. Mediators led by the AU and Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have since been trying to broker a return to direct talks between the two sides.

Sudan’s opposition coalition known as Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change said that it will launch a campaign for popular activism and prepare for “revolutionary escalation.”

Sudan's public prosecutor has charged jailed former President Omar al-Bashir with corruption, according to state media. Al-Bashir was overthrown and arrested in a coup by the military on April 11 after months of mass protests against his 30-year autocratic rule. The SUNA news agency on Thursday quoted an official source as saying that al-Bashir "had been charged under foreign exchange possession materials, the heinous and suspicious wealth and emergency orders".

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