Envoy says Sudan rivals reach power-sharing agreement

International

FILE – In this June 30, 2019, file photo, Sudanese protesters shout slogans as they march during a demonstration against the military council, in Khartoum, Sudan. An African Union envoy says Sudan’s ruling military council and the country’s pro-democracy movement have reached a power-sharing agreement, including a timetable for a transition to civilian rule. Mohammed el-Hassan Labat said early Friday, July 5, that both sides agreed to form a joint sovereign council that will rule the country for “three years or a little more.” The sides agreed to five seats for the military and five for civilians with an additional seat going to a civilian with military background. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — Sudan’s ruling military council and the country’s pro-democracy movement have reached a power-sharing agreement, including a timetable for a transition to civilian rule, an African Union envoy said early Friday.

Mohammed el-Hassan Labat said both sides agreed to form a joint sovereign council that will rule the country for “three years or a little more.” The sides agreed to five seats for the military and five for civilians with an additional seat going to a civilian with military background.

The emerging deal could break weeks of political impasse since the military ousted autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April.

Talks on a power-sharing agreement had collapsed when security forces razed a protest camp outside the military headquarters in Khartoum on June 3.

The AU and Ethiopia made intensive efforts to bring the generals and the protesters back to the negotiating table.

Negotiations resumed earlier this week, following massive protests last weekend in which tens of thousands of demonstrators flooded the streets of Sudan’s main cities in the biggest show of numbers since the razing of the protesters’ sit-in camp. At least 11 people were killed in clashes with security forces, according to protest organizers.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday had called on Sudanese authorities to lift restrictions on the internet and properly investigate all acts of violence and allegations of excessive use of force.

Over 250 people have been killed since an uprising erupted against al-Bashir in December, according to protest organizers. The military overthrew the longtime ruler in April, but protesters remained in the streets, fearing the generals intended to cling to power or preserve some form of authoritarian rule.

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