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Sudanese Generals, Pro-Dems Sign Deal  12/05 06:20

   

   KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) -- Sudan's ruling generals and the main pro-democracy 
group on Monday signed a framework deal meant to help resolve the country's 
crisis and take it to the next elections. However, key dissenters, including 
some rebel groups and reformists have stayed out of the agreement.

   The deal pledges to establish a new, civilian-led transitional government to 
guide the country to elections and offers a path forward in the wake of Sudan's 
stalled transition to democracy following the October 2021 coup.

   The deal -- the first of at least two planned accords -- was signed by 
Sudan's two ruling generals, Abdel-Fattah Burhan and Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, 
and the leaders from the country's largest pro-democracy group, Forces for the 
Declaration of Freedom and Change, at the Khartoum Republican Palace.

   However, several of Sudan's key dissenting political forces have boycotted 
the deal, including Sudan's grassroots pro-democracy network, known as the 
Resistance Committees, which has continually refused to negotiate with the 
ruling generals. Several former rebel leaders, who have formed their own 
political block, have also rejected the deal.

   According to the draft, the deal envisions Sudan's military eventually step 
back from politics. The agreement also stipulates that the "revolutionary 
forces" that signed the deal will decide upon a new prime minister to oversee a 
two-year transition, a 24-month period that begins after a premier is appointed.

   In response to the signing, the pro-democracy Resistance Committees' leaders 
called for demonstrations against the agreement.

   The deal is roughly based on a draft transitional constitution proposed by 
Sudan's Bar Association in September. It does not address details concerning 
thornier political issues, such as a transitional judiciary system and the 
implementation of military reforms, which have been left for a follow-up accord.

   It also stipulates that the military will form part of a new ''security and 
defense council" under the appointed prime minister. The agreement also vows to 
unify Sudan's armed forces and impose controls on military-owned companies.

   The document makes specific mention of Sudan's wealthy paramilitary force, 
the Rapid Support Forces, headed by Dagalo. The force amassed wealth through 
its gradual acquisition of Sudanese financial institutions and gold reserves in 
recent years.

   However, no further details were given on how or when these reforms would be 
implemented. Many of the points in the deal were already promised in a 2020 
deal which saw Sudan's previous transitional government make peace with several 
rebels in Sudan's far-flung provinces.

   Sudan has been plugged into turmoil since Gen. Burhan mounted the October 
2021 coup that upended the country's former democratic transition after three 
decades of autocratic rule by President Omar al-Bashir. The former leader was 
toppled in April 2019, following a popular uprising.

   The U.N. special envoy to Sudan, Volker Perthes, attended Monday's signing 
and later, at a speech at the palace, described the deal as ''Sudanese-owned 
and Sudanese-led.''

   Monday's development came after months of negotiations between the military 
and the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, facilitated by a 
four-part mediating team, including the United States, the United Arab 
Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Great Britain.

   The deal will hope to drawn in new international aid, after donor funds 
dried up in response to the coup. In recent months, bread and fuel shortages, 
caused in part by the war in Ukraine, have become routine in Sudan.

 
 
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