Sudan opposition say deal close for new leadership council

Three members of Sudan's ruling military council resigned on Wednesday evening after it said it reached "agreement on most demands" with protest leaders

Sudanese protesters gather near the military headquarters in the capital Khartoum, during a rally on April 27, 2019.  A joint committee representing Sudan's military leadership and protesters is to hold its first meeting today to discuss their demand for civilian rule, the leading protest group said. / AFP / ASHRAF SHAZLY
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Sudan’s opposition alliance said a deal is set to form a new transition body to lead the country’s path away from the three-decade rule of Omar Al Bashir, who was forced from office earlier this month.

Three members of Sudan's ruling military council resigned on Wednesday evening after it said it reached "agreement on most demands" with protest leaders who have called for a million-strong march to demand a civilian government.

They were Lt Gen Omar Zain Al Abdin, Lt Gen Jalaluddin Al Sheikh and Lt Gen Al Tayieb Babikir.

The army initially stepped in to navigate the changes but vowed to transition to civilian rule within two years. However, the unions that led the protests have urged an immediate transfer of power, rejecting military rule.

The council, led by Lt Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan since his predecessor quit after barely 24 hours in the post, invited the protesters to fresh talks on Wednesday. He acknowledged their role in "initiating the revolution and leading the movement in a peaceful way until the toppling of the regime" of Mr Al Bashir.

The military recognised the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a coalition of opposition groups led by the Sudanese Professionals Association, as the uprising's only legitimate representative, in a move widely seen as a victory for the protesters.

The army has also followed through with a number of the protesters’ key demands, such as arresting senior Al Bashir-era officials – Lt Gen Al Burhan has vowed to “uproot” all vestiges of the old regime.

"Today we have taken positive steps and we expect to reach an agreement satisfactory to all parties," said Ayman Nimir, a negotiator for the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces.

"We expect to receive a response from the military council regarding the formation of a sovereign council within hours."

The army removed Mr Al Bashir from office by on April 11 after 16 weeks of protests. Initially sparked by the rising cost of staples – with bread tripling in price – they quickly shifted to demands for the long-time ruler to leave office.

Since then, protesters in the capital of Khartoum have continued, growing in size, as demonstrators demand a civilian, democratic leadership.

The council has met a wide range of political parties about the transition, including those formerly close to Mr Al Bashir – who is now jailed in the capital along with two of his brothers.

Shams Al Deen Al Kabashi, the spokesman for the council, said late on Friday that it had completed a review of proposals. He did not elaborate.

The SPA says about 100 people have been killed by security forces since December.