Sudan’s military rejects Ethiopia’s transition proposal

Sudan's ruling Military Council spokesperson Shams El Din Kabbashi, gestures during a press conference at the Presidential Palace, in Khartoum, Sudan, Sunday, June 23, 2019. (AP Photo-Hussein Malla)

Sudan’s military has rejected Ethiopia’s proposal to end the political deadlock over the composition of the country’s transitional government.

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.

Ethiopia’s proposal, which the opposition coalition has agreed to, suggests that a ruling sovereign council would be made up of seven civilians and seven members of the military, with one additional seat reserved for an impartial individual, according to Reuters.

The TMC spokesperson, Lieutenant General Shams El Din Kabbashi, instead said on Sunday that he agreed in principle to the African Union (AU) plan.

“The African Union’s initiative came first,” said Kabbashi, adding that the council had not studied the Ethiopian initiative, which he described as unilateral.

AU proposal

Details of the AU proposal were not immediately known.

Kabbashi said that Ethiopia and the AU needed to unify their efforts to mediate between the council and the opposition coalition spearheading months-long pro-democracy protests.

“We asked the mediators to unite their efforts and submit a joint paper as soon as possible to return the parties to negotiations,” Kabbashi said.

Both Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the AU have been trying to mediate between the sides.

Talks between the ruling generals and the Forces for Freedom and Change coalition collapsed when security forces stormed a protest sit-in outside the Defence Ministry on June 3, killing dozens.

The military said a crackdown on criminals spilled over to the sit-in area, but some officers have been detained for presumed responsibility.

The makeup of the sovereign council was the main outstanding sticking point between the two sides before the talks collapsed. The military council cancelled all agreements it had reached with the coalition after the sit-in’s dispersal.

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