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Sudan opposition receives AU-Ethiopian draft agreement

June 28 - 2019 KHARTOUM
Headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Xinhua)
Headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Xinhua)

The Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC) reported the reception of a draft agreement of a Declaration of Principles, proposed by the joint African Union (AU) and Ethiopian mediation with the Transitional Military Council (TMC) on Thursday.

The objective of this letter is to outline “a joint proposal for the settlement of the political situation in Sudan” on the basis of guiding principles, including adhering to principles of democracy, human rights, and traditional values and resolving issues through means of dialogue and mutual respect. It has been endorsed jointly by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairman of the AU Commission.

Piorities of mediation

A source connected to the AU told Radio Dabanga that there will be four main priorities of the mediation efforts, which will guide the transition period towards democratic civilian rule in Sudan. They are:

1. The immediate formation of a Sovereign Council consisting of seven civilians and seven military personnel, plus an eighth civilian member by agreement.

2. The formation of a civilian cabinet from the AFC, with the exception of Ministries of Defence and Interior which will take office immediately.

3. Postponement of the formation of a parliament until a new formula is agreed.

4. Return of the parties to direct negotiations immediately without condition and agreement to undertake a transparent, accurate, and credible investigation into all actions of violence against protestors, including the incident of 3 June 2019, through the African Human Rights Commission.

Tentative approval

The AFC approved the Declaration of Principles, according to a statement yesterday. However, the alliance has some remarks and confirmed that the document will be further studied to decide on certain points.

The TMC is yet to release a statement about the Declaration of Principles. On June 23, the TMC sharply criticised the Ethiopian mediators’ initiative on a future government for Sudan. It also threatened to revoke the agreement that it reach with the AFC last month.

Sticking point

The main sticking point between the parties will most likely be agreement on an independent investigation of violent attacks in Sudan on June 3. The current death toll stands at 128 civilians and is expected by the Sudan Doctors Central Committee to be higher.

Following the attack, the AFC demanded that the TMC assumes responsibility for dismantling the sit-in and for an international investigation to be undertaken.

The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies called the event a crime against humanity and there was widespread condemnation of the attacks, along with international pressure for an independent enquiry.

On June 15, TMC spokesman and chairman of the Political Committee, Lt Gen Shamseldin Kabbashi, declared that an international commission of inquiry would not be accepted because Sudan is a sovereign state. Kabbashi questioned the figures published by the doctors committee, claiming that “the number does not exceed 61”. He also denied the existence of cases of rape or victims being thrown into the Nile.

In days following this announcement, the spokesman for the military investigation committee, Brigadier Abdelrahim Badreldin, announced an investigation had been completed, saying that the breakup of the sit-in was not ordered by the TMC.

Demonstrations and vigils calling for transparency about the dismantlement of the Khartoum sit-in and a civilian-led government continue to take place in Sudan.

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