Sudan’s military council accepts AU-Ethiopia proposal

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.

On June 27, they presented a joint proposal to both sides after the TMC 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.

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,” TMC 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 al-Bashir’s removal.

However, the make-up of a legislative council would only be decided after the agreement was signed. In previous drafts, the Freedom and Change opposition alliance was to make up two-thirds of that council.

Al-Bashir ruled Sudan for nearly 30 years before he was unseated following a deepening economic crisis and 16 weeks of street protests.

Sudan’s stability is seen as crucial to a volatile region straddling the Middle East and Africa.