Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 September 2019

Sudanese rebels criticise power-sharing deal

Sudanese Revolutionary Front says constitutional document agreed to late on Sunday did not include 'basic principles' to achieve peace

Sudanese demonstrators chant slogans in front of security forces during a protest in Khartoum, Sudan. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo
Sudanese demonstrators chant slogans in front of security forces during a protest in Khartoum, Sudan. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo

A Sudanese rebel group has said it won’t accept a power-sharing deal signed recently between the ruling military council and the pro-democracy movement.

The Sudanese Revolutionary Front, a rebel group that is part of the protest movement, said the constitutional document signed late on Sunday did not include “basic principles” to achieve peace.

The group said the protest coalition had ignored the rebels’ positions on peace and said it would seek to amend the deal before the final August 17 signing.

The protesters say achieving peace would be a priority for the military-civilian transitional council.

The military overthrew president Omar Al Bashir in April after months of mass protests against his 29-year authoritarian rule.

Sudan's ruling generals and protest leaders signed the constitutional declaration on Sunday, paving the way for a transition to civilian rule after more than seven months of demonstrations and violence.

Under the agreement, signed at a ceremony in the capital Khartoum, a civilian and military ruling body will oversee the formation of a civilian government and parliament to govern for a three-year transition period.

The declaration was the result of fraught negotiations between the military and the leaders of mass protests that began last December.

It builds on a July 17 power-sharing deal between the two sides.

Protest movement leader Ahmed Rabie and the deputy head of the ruling military council, Gen Mohamed Daglo, signed the declaration at a ceremony attended by African Union and Ethiopian mediators.

"We turned a tough page of Sudan's history by signing this agreement," said Gen Daglo, who flashed a victory sign after making a short speech.

The signing was met with applause in the hall as representatives from both sides shook hands.

Members of the protest umbrella group, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, broke into tears as they exchanged hugs.

Crowds of jubilant Sudanese gathered outside the hall, chanting "blood for blood, our government is civilian" and "revolution, revolution".

Sudan's Arab neighbours hailed the long-awaited deal.

Egypt said it was "a significant step on the right track", while the Saudi Foreign Ministry welcomed it as "a quantum leap that will transition Sudan to stability and security".

Dr Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said Sudan's transition to civilian rule "turns the page" on Mr Al Bashir and his allies.

Updated: August 6, 2019 10:27 AM

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