Sudan’s opposition coalition resumes talks with junta
The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) agreed to resume direct negotiations with the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) on Thursday evening. They are optimistic about the outcomes.
Lawyer Sati El Haj, leading member of the Sudanese Congress Party and member of the FFC negotiation team, reported in a press conference in Khartoum on Thursday that the joint technical committee concluded its work on the text of the Constitutional Declaration with broad consensus on most of the major issues.
The two parties in principle agreed to form a Parliament with 67 percent of the seats allocated to members of the FFC. The other 33 percent will be reserved for other groups and individuals who also contributed to the uprising.
El Haj explained that disputes about the Constitutional Document text, which now consists of 64 articles, revolved around to the position of Sudan’s main government militia, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), in addition to the body that will restructure the regular forces, and the competences of electoral, peace, and border commissions.
The opposition coalition proposed the creation of “a national institution of armed forces without any reference to the RSF”, he said. “The status of other forces will be addressed gradually during the interim period of a little more than three years.”
The joint technical committee also agreed on the appointment of the heads of the judiciary and the Constitutional Court by the Supreme Judiciary Council.
El Haj further emphasised that the draft document does not include “any absolute substantive immunities, but procedural immunities”.
He was confident that the points of contention would be resolved in the direct negotiation session on Thursday evening.
At the press conference, FFC leader Madani Abbas confirmed the coalition’s commitment to include in the Constitutional Declaration the points agreed upon with the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) alliance of armed movements in Addis Ababa in end July.
He said the FFC is optimistic about achieving peace within the first six months of the interim period.
Abbas however also expressed his concern over the withdrawal of the Communist Party from the negotiating process.
“This is sad news and a great loss,” he said, hoping that the party will reconsider its decision soon, “because of the sensitivity of the moment” and to keep unity among the pro-democracy coalition that has one main goal: a civilian-led government.
The opposition leader renewed his condemnation of “the massacre of El Obeid” on July 29 in which six protesters, among them four school students, were shot dead by RSF militiamen. He held the junta responsible for “its role in various killings and violations caused by negligence or criminal acts”, and emphasised the function of the security forces in protecting the lives of the people.
He renewed the FFC’s call for the removal of military and militia forces from urban areas. The police should carry out its task, on the condition they “change their previous behaviour in a way that guarantees freedom of expression”.
Yesterday, the members of the Sudan Call (or Sudan Appeal, a coalition of the SRF, the National Consensus Forces alliance of opposition parties, and a number of civil society organisations formed in December 2014) issued a statement in which they renewed their demands to the FFC.
The opposition coalition should inform them whether they intend to accept the agreement reached with the armed movements in Addis Ababa a week ago, on the recognition of the SRF’s stances “related to peace and the democratic transition”.
They stressed the need to have their position reflected in the Political Charter, signed by the FFC and the TMC on July 17, and the text of the Constitutional Document, and accept their requirements for a peace agreement in accordance with the arrangements for the first phase of the interim period.
The SRF should be accepted as full member of the FFC, “to comply with the requirements for a comprehensive peace stipulated in the Declaration of Freedom and Change”.
The statement further called for enhanced cooperation, “to quickly conclude the Constitutional Document and give priority to forming a joint Sovereign Council, a civilian cabinet, and an independent judiciary”.
The Sudan Call further urged the ruling junta not to recognise the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the attacks on protesters in front of the army command on June 3, and instead “be committed to the Political Declaration of the National Independent Commission and all obligations required to achieve justice”.
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