Khartoum — Today, Sudan's Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC) are to receive proposals from the Ethiopian mediation to solve the current political crisis in the country.
If both sides accept the proposal, they are expected to sign an earlier agreement on the formation of an interim civilian authority. A Sovereign Council of eight civilian and seven military members will rule the country, together with a new cabinet and parliament.
Sati El Haj, lawyer and member of the AFC negotiating team told Radio Dabanga that the disagreement between the junta and opposition "was not about percentages, but rather a conceptual dispute concerning the military's mission during the interim period. They are supposed to secure the country's territory and borders, not to rule the country".
"The AFC conditions a civilian president and a civilian majority in the government. We have reported this vision to the Ethiopian prime minister during his visit to Khartoum earlier this month," he said.
El Haj expressed his belief that the Ethiopian mediator has understood this. He expects to receive a positive response today, "despite the negative signals sent by the military junta that it has actually started exercising power. The military junta will not be able to govern Sudan alone. Sudan is heading to civilian rule and will not be satisfied otherwise, we told the Ethiopian mediator."
Negotiations about the composition of a new government have been delayed and suspended several times by both the junta and the opposition. On May 13, an initial agreement was reached on a three-year transitional period after which general elections are to be held.
The interim parliament will be composed of 300 members. The AFC will be represented by 67 percent. The rest of the seats will be drawn from other political parties. Peace talks with rebel movements in Darfur and the Two Areas (Blue Nile and South Kordofan) are to be prioritised during the first six months of the interim government. The composition of a new leadership council however was a major obstacle for the talks. The TMC want it to be military-led, while the protesters insist on a civilian government.
Three days later, the TMC suspended the dialogue, until the barricades set-up by protesters on the main roads in the capital Khartoum would be removed. After the violent dismantling of the sit-in in front of the army command in Khartoum on June 3, the military junta announced the suspension of all negotiations and revoked all agreements with the AFC. Instead, they called for a general election within a period of nine months.
The AFC as well suspended the talks. They said they will only restart negotiations if the TMC assumes responsibility for the dismantling of the Khartoum sit-in which resulted in more than 100 deaths and hundreds of injured protesters.
After pressure from the international community, in particular the African Union, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, called on the AFC this week to return to the negotiation table "unconditionally".
On June 7, Ethiopia's prime minister arrived in Khartoum in an attempt to ease the political crisis. In addition, the African Union envoy to Sudan, Mohamed Lebatt, announced the formation of an international mechanism to support AU mediation in the country.
Lebatt told reporters in Khartoum on June 13 that the international component will be composed of the Sudan Troika (USA, the UK, and Norway), the EU, and permanent members of the UN Security Council.
The African mediation will consist of two tracks: The first one will be led by an AU team, the second track by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
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