In Summary
  • Sudan's ruling military council and protest leaders reached the tentative deal in the early hours of Friday, agreeing to form a joint civilian-military governing body.

  • The power-sharing deal comes after intense mediation by Ethiopia and African Union diplomats.

  • Tensions climaxed on June 3 when armed men in military fatigues stormed a longstanding protest camp in Khartoum, shooting and beating crowds of demonstrators in a pre-dawn raid.

KHARTOUM,

After months of political uncertainty, Sudan has taken its first step towards a democratic transition, but getting the ruling generals to deliver on a power-sharing accord with protesters remains a challenge.

"The only path forward is a negotiated deal between the two sides," said Alan Boswell, senior analyst at the International Crisis Group think tank.

Sudan's ruling military council and protest leaders reached the tentative deal in the early hours of Friday, agreeing to form a joint civilian-military governing body.

That body is to oversee the formation of a transitional civilian administration that will govern for three years — the main demand of demonstrators.

BASHIR EXIT

The two agreed the ruling body would have a rotating presidency, a breakthrough following months of political impasse after the army in April ousted long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir on the back of a popular uprising.

Tensions climaxed on June 3 when armed men in military fatigues stormed a longstanding protest camp in Khartoum, shooting and beating crowds of demonstrators in a pre-dawn raid.

Dozens were killed, triggering international outrage, although the generals insisted they did not order the violent dispersal of protesters.

The power-sharing deal comes after intense mediation by Ethiopia and African Union diplomats.

"Any agreement is a positive step. The challenge will be actually getting the military council to do as it promised," Boswell told AFP.

On Saturday, the head of that council General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan vowed to "implement" the deal and to work "in close cooperation" with the protest leaders.

The governing body will have a total of six civilians and five military representatives. The six civilians will include five from the umbrella protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change.

A general will head the ruling body during the first 21 months of the transition, followed by a civilian for the remaining 18 months, according to the framework agreement.

DOUBTS LINGER

Against the backdrop of the June 3 raid, experts doubt whether the military will keep its part of the deal.

"The key question is whether the military or the security sector more widely will cooperate fully with civilian members of the board or is cooperation mere window dressing," said Andreas Krieg, assistant professor at King's College London.

"It is the security sector's intent to accept civilian control that will determine whether Sudan can move to a fully civilian rule in the future."

Bashir, who came to power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, ruled Sudan with an iron fist thanks to the security apparatus, especially the feared National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) — accused by rights groups of trampling human rights and freedoms.

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