Sudan: U.S., Allies ‘Welcome’ Sudan Initial Pact to End Post-Coup Crisis

The United States and allies Monday welcomed the signing of an initial deal between Sudan’s military and civilian leaders to end a political crisis sparked last year by a coup.

Monday’s agreement comes just over a year after Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan seized power in October 2021, derailing a rocky transition to civilian rule that had started with the 2019 overthrow of autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir.

Over the past year, Sudan has seen near-weekly protests and a crackdown that pro-democracy medics say has killed at least 121 people, a spiralling economic crisis and a rise in ethnic violence in several remote regions.

Meanwhile, divisions among civilian groups have deepened since the coup, with some urging a deal with the military while others insist on “no partnership, no negotiation”.

International brokers in attendance

Monday’s deal was signed by Burhan, paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and multiple civilian groups, most notably the Forces for Freedom and Change – the main civilian faction that was ousted in the coup.

The deal – based on a proposal by the Sudanese Bar Association – was negotiated in the presence of officials from the United Nations, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to the FFC.

The signing was attended by UN special representative Volker Perthes and AU ambassador Mohamed Belaish.

The United States and their allies issued a statement on Monday hailing the deal as “an essential first step toward establishing a civilian-led government and defining constitutional arrangements to guide Sudan through a transitional period culminating in elections.”

Comprehensive peace deal hoped within weeks

In a first phase, according to the FCC, “the framework agreement lays the groundwork for establishing a transitional civilian authority,” noting that other civilian groups also signed.

A final deal tackling issues including transitional justice and reforms to the military should be completed “within weeks,” it added.

However, that part is far thornier, with observers questioning whether the military would be willing to give up economic interests and wider powers that it views as its privileged domain.

The civilian signatories will likely face “a real political crisis” as they start talking about security sector reforms, transitional justice and financial accountability.

Monday’s signing comes months after Burhan pledged that the military would step aside and make way for factions to agree on a civilian government.

Pro-democracy activists reject the latest effort and are calling for new street protests demanding the military return to barracks.

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