Skip to main content

Sudan's political transition talks resume as sit-in continues: Report

Main sticking point between army and protesters has been who will lead transitional government body, AFP said
Protesters have staged a sit-in at Sudan's defence ministry to demand a civilian-led government (MEE)

Sudan's military rulers and protesters resumed talks to finalise the make-up of a new ruling body after negotiations became deadlocked at the weekend over a disagreement over who should lead the transitional government.

Hours of meetings that went into the early hours of Monday ended without an agreement, AFP reported.

But Sudan's ruling military council said talks would resume at 9 pm local time (19.00 GMT) at the presidential palace. An AFP correspondent in Khartoum said the negotiations started up again shortly after that time on Monday.

The question of who would head the transitional government body, which is being established after the ouster last month of Sudan's longtime President Omar al-Bashir, has been a key sticking point in the negotiations.

"The dispute over the presidency of the sovereign council" is ongoing, said Satea al-Haj of the Alliance for Freedom and Change, an umbrella group representing the protesters.

"The military council is still insisting that the president of the sovereign council should be from the military," he told AFP. "They are justifying it by saying the country faces security threats."

Sudan army rulers say talks to resume as Islamists stage demonstration
Read More »

For weeks, the two sides have discussed the role of the sovereign council that will rule Sudan for a three-year transitional period following last month's military coup, which removed Bashir from power after three decades.

The military council that replaced him has faced international pressure to instal a civilian-led administration - a key demand of thousands of demonstrators who have spent weeks camped outside Khartoum's defence ministry.

The protest movement insists that civilians must form the majority of the body's members, Haj added.

"The international community and the African Union will not accept to deal with a military government," he said. "The people also want a civilian government." 

The military council has said a "final deal" is expected during Monday's negotiations, AFP reported.

The Alliance for Freedom and Change said it would continue to urge people to demonstrate.

"We continue to hold our demonstrations, our sit-ins and our protests until we achieve all the goals of our glorious revolution, the first of which is handing power" to a civilian authority, it said in a statement cited by AFP.

Sit-in continues

In previous negotiations, both sides had agreed on several key issues, including a three-year transition period and the creation of a 300-member parliament, with two-thirds of the lawmakers from the Alliance of Freedom and Change.

Meanwhile, while the military council said roadblocks are "totally unacceptable", barricades set up by protesters remain outside the army headquarters in Khartoum and their sit-in there continues.

The new sovereign council is expected to form a transitional civilian government ahead of the first post-Bashir elections after the transition period.

'Victory is just a matter of patience and it is getting close'

- Alliance for Freedom and Change

But observers say the body may turn out to be only symbolic, with real power resting in the office of the prime minister and the cabinet.

On Monday, demonstrator Abdelmoneim Seer vowed to continue protesting if the generals stay in power.

"If the military council does not meet all our demands at the next negotiation session... we will continue our sit-ins everywhere" across Sudan, he told AFP.

Demonstrators began their sit-in against Bashir on 6 April, but refused to move after his ouster by the military, vowing to stay until a civilian government was installed.

The Alliance for Freedom and Change on Monday urged demonstrators to be patient.

"Victory is just a matter of patience and it is getting close," the group said.