Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 June 2019

Sudan protest leaders announce accord with army on transitional authority

Prosecutors charge deposed leader Omar Al Bashir over the deaths of protesters

In this July 9, 2018, file photo, Sudan's former president Omar Al Bashir attends a ceremony for Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. AP
In this July 9, 2018, file photo, Sudan's former president Omar Al Bashir attends a ceremony for Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. AP

Sudan's protest leaders on Monday said they reached a breakthrough agreement with military rulers on transitional authorities to run the country.

The news came shortly after the prosecutor general's office said deposed president Omar Al Bashir had been charged over the killings of protesters during anti-regime demonstrations that led to the end of his rule.

Taha Osman, a spokesman for the protest movement, said that at Monday's meeting the parties agreed on the structure of the authorities and their powers.

"The authorities are as follows – the sovereign council, the cabinet and the legislative body," Mr Osman told AFP.

He said another meeting would be held on Tuesday "to discuss the period of transition and composition of the authorities".

The crucial talks between Sudan's army rulers and protest leaders over handing power to a civilian administration follow a deadlock in negotiations.

The apparent breakthrough came as Sudan's acting prosecutor general Al Waleed Ahmed said Mr Al Bashir and others "have been charged for inciting and participating in the killing of demonstrators".

The charges form part of an investigation into the death of a medic killed during a protest in the capital's eastern district of Burri, Mr Ahmed's office said.

In violent demonstrations late on Monday, more than 10 people were wounded by gunfire near the Khartoum protest sit-in, doctors told Reuters.

Shots were fired after security and paramilitary forces clashed with protesters who had been blocking roads.

Ninety protesters were killed in protest-related violence after demonstrations erupted in December over a government decision to triple the price of bread, a doctors' committee linked to the protest movement said last month.

Protest leaders Omar Al Digeir and Satea Al Haj were among those who attended the talks on Monday on behalf of the Alliance for Freedom and Change, said Mashar Darraj, a spokeswoman for the umbrella group.

The meeting was held behind closed doors at a convention centre in central Khartoum.

Before the meeting, dozens of protesters blocked Nile Street, a major avenue in the city, for the second consecutive day.

Pressing their demand for a handover to civilian rule, they also blocked a road leading to the capital's northern district of Bahari.

A protester was wounded by live ammunition in Bahari, witnesses said.

After a deadlock in negotiations, the protest alliance on Saturday said the army generals had invited them for a new round of talks.

The generals in earlier talks had proposed the new council be led by the military, while the protest leaders want a majority civilian body.

Late last month, the alliance – which brings together protest organisers, opposition parties and rebel groups – handed the generals its proposals for a civilian-led transitional government.

But the generals said they had "many reservations" over the alliance's roadmap.

They have singled out its silence on the constitutional position of Sharia, which was the guiding principle of all law under Mr Al Bashir's rule.

Demonstrators converged on the military complex last month seeking the army's help in ousting him.

Days later the army removed the leader, but a 10-member military council took power and demonstrators have kept up their sit-in against the generals.

Although crowds have dwindled during the day due to the scorching heat, protesters gather in their thousands after breaking the daytime fast for Ramadan.

Updated: May 14, 2019 05:04 AM

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