Sudan factions delay post-coup deal on civilian rule

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Reform of the security forces is a key point of contention in the talks [File: Umit Bektas/Reuters]

Signing of political agreement to name a Sudanese civilian government has been delayed to April 6, official says.

Sudanese leaders have postponed the signing of an agreement planned for Saturday to resume a short-lived democratic transition, an official has said, amid continued disagreement between military factions.

Spokesman for the negotiation process Khalid Omar Yousif said on Twitter on Saturday that military and civilian parties have unanimously agreed to “redouble efforts to overcome the remaining obstacle within a few days and pave the way for the signing of the final political agreement on April 6”.

The signing of the accord was delayed due to a lack of “consensus on some outstanding issues”, Yousif said earlier in the day.

A coup in October 2021 led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan had derailed the process that began following the 2019 removal of General Omar al-Bashir.

Representatives have been negotiating an agreement for weeks, the final part in a two-phase political process launched in December to set out the terms for reviving the transition to civilian-led rule and democratic elections.

Reform of the security forces is a key point of contention in the talks, which envisage an exit of generals from politics once a civilian government is installed.

The December deal, decried by critics as “vague”, was agreed by Burhan with multiple factions after near-weekly protests since the 2021 coup.

The proposed reforms include the integration into the regular army of the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by Burhan’s deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

Created in 2013, the RSF emerged from the Popular Defence Forces, sometimes called “Janjaweed”, that al-Bashir unleashed a decade earlier in the western region of Darfur against non-Arab rebels. The militia has since been accused by rights groups of having committed war crimes.

While experts have pointed to worrying rivalries between Burhan and Daglo, the two men appeared side by side last week, speaking in the capital Khartoum to plead for successful integration.

But talks have stalled since, according to observers, with persistent disputes over a timetable for the RSF’s integration.

Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Khartoum said “the army wants the group to be integrated into it by the end of the two-year transitional period.

“They also want an assessment of the officers and the ranks of the officers of the RSF saying that needs to be reassessed because they have not joined the military academy and they have been promoted in standards that were not compatible with the standards of the army.

“When it comes to the issue of integrating the RSF, which has been repeatedly saying that it is part of the military, that comes down to the military and the RSF amongst themselves. A technical committee is working to try to reach an agreement in the next five days so that a final deal is signed by April 6,” Morgan said.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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