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El Burhan confirms negotiations on new Sudanese constitutional framework

November 14 - 2022 KHARTOUM / OMDURMAN
Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan visits the army corps in the El Shajara military area in Khartoum on September 21, 2021 (SUNA)
Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan visits the army corps in the El Shajara military area in Khartoum on September 21, 2021 (SUNA)

The head of the Sovereignty Council and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), Abdelfattah El Burhan, claimed on Sunday that the new civilian government will not be partisan and the mainstream Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) have agreed not to return to power. He also denied rumours about having signed any bilateral settlement. 

The speech, held in front of a crowd of soldiers at the El Markhiyat base in Omdurman, follows a statement published on Thursday by leading members of the AU-IGAD-UN Trilateral Mechanism about negotiations between the mainstream FFC and Sudan's military junta on a new constitutional framework. The trilateral mechanism statement said "we now have a workable document upon which further consensus can be built," explaining that they will facilitate a new set of negotiation meetings. 

In his speech, El Burhan said that the SAF has received the new constitutional framework document. “It is true that there has been a document presented to us in reference to the new proposed transitional constitution. We sent in our comments, which are to preserve the army’s dignity, unity and independence, and that we will not allow anyone to tamper with the armed forces or interfere with them.” 

El Burhan affirmed the military’s adherence to civilian authority that would be guarded by the army, and added, addressing the soldiers, “If the civilian government deviates from its path, [it should be aware that] you’re here with your weapons”. 

The army leader also accused “certain parties” of inciting SAF officers and soldiers “to carry out a subversive act” and warned them against inciting officers or interfering in the affairs of the army. “Anyone who interferes in army affairs is our enemy. They may be Islamists, communists, or Baathists... We repeat our warning to them, stay away from the army," he said. 

“We are all one hand against those who work against the armed forces, and anyone who interferes in the affairs of the army, we will cut off his tongue and hands,” he warned. 

El Burhan, leader of the October 25 military coup d'état last year, renewed his demands for political forces in the country to agree on “a single vision,” based on the new Constitutional Charter developed by the Sudan Bar Association. He urged the parties to sit down and make amendments to the initiatives that were put forward, noting shared values of awareness and patriotism between some leaders of the FFC and the military. 

He added that the army’s aim for Sudan is stability and unity, and confirmed his expectation that “the next government will be independent.” 

He said that the military broke their partnership with FFC last year because they tried to interfere with the army. The military has always denied that they committed a coup on October 25 last year, claiming they took power because the government was deviating from its path. 

The trilateral mechanism has reportedly called on the military to present a united front in supporting the draft constitution, adding that fundamental issues such as transitional justice “need to be addressed”.

Khartoum resistance committee coordinators confirmed that they were not part of the meeting that the trilateral mechanism said they held with resistance committees on Thursday.

According to Kholood Khair, broadcaster and managing partner of Insight Strategy Partners, Sudan’s negotiations continue to be concerned with positions and transitional structures, rather than transformative change, because its parties remain caught in a system which favours the military. “This upcoming deal does nothing to break the mould and therefore is no real challenge to the military's domination of Sudan's politics, in fact, its very much the opposite. So, El Burhan - and his new Ray-Bans - can rest easy,” tweeted Khair on November 6.

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