Saturday June 29, 2019
Sudan’s ruling military council has said a proposal submitted by the African Union (AU) and Ethiopia received on June 27 is suitable for the resumption of talks with the opposition on a transition to democracy.
The generals of the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the opposition coalition have been wrangling for weeks over what form Sudan’s transitional government should take after the military deposed long-time president Omar al-Bashir on April 11.
Mediators led by the AU and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have since been trying to broker a return to direct talks between the two sides.
Sudan protesters accept Ethiopia plan for political transition
On Thursday they presented a joint proposal to the two sides, after the military council rejected a previous Ethiopian proposal and called for mediation efforts to be unified.
A draft of the AU-Ethiopia proposal suggested few changes from a previous Ethiopian plan that a coalition of protesters has endorsed, reported Reuters.
‘A suitable proposal’
“A number of points have emerged around it, but in general it is a suitable proposal for negotiations to reach a final agreement leading to the establishment of the institutions of a transitional rule …,” council spokesman Lieutenant General Shams al-Din Kabashi said on Friday.
He said the TMC was ready to resume “immediate, serious and honest” negotiations.
The joint proposal provides for a sovereign council that would oversee the transition, made up of seven civilians and seven members of the military with one additional seat reserved for an independent member. The balance of membership of the council had been the sticking point during weeks of talks after Bashir’s ouster.
However, the make-up of a legislative council would only be decided after the agreement was signed. In previous drafts, the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) opposition coalition was to make up two-thirds of that council.
Meanwhile, a Canadian firm has signed a $6m deal with the Sudanese military council to help lobby foreign governments on behalf of the TMC.
A lobbying contract signed in May 2019 between the Montreal-based Dickens & Madson Inc. and Sudan’s military council says the company will help lobby the governments of the United States, Saudi Arabia, the Russian Federation and others for “the beneficial development of your political aims”.
“We shall use our best efforts to ensure favorable international as well as Sudanese media coverage for you and we shall further undertake to obtain financing for you from the United States, the Russian Federation and other countries,” the document said.
“We shall also strive to obtain funding and equipment for the Sudanese military.”
The document was signed by Rapid Support Forces’s (RSF) commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemeti and Ari Ben-Menashe, the company’s president and a former Israeli intelligence officer and arms dealer.
It also said the company would “strive to arrange a public meeting between The Honorable President Trump and yourselves [the TMC]”.