KHARTOUM – (warsoor) – Sudan’s opposition alliance and ruling military council said after talks on Saturday that they expected to agree on the formation of a new body to lead the country’s transition from 30 years of autocratic rule by Omar al-Bashir.
Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) ousted and arrested former President Bashir on April 11 following months of anti-government protests, saying it would rule for up to two years ahead of elections.
Anti-Bashir opposition groups and protesters who have kept up a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry want a civilian-led transitional council with military representation.
Under an umbrella group called the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces, they met the TMC on Saturday to try to resolve the standoff.
“Today we have taken positive steps and we expect to reach an agreement satisfactory to all parties,” said Ayman Nimir, an opposition negotiator. “We expect to receive a response from the military council regarding the formation of a sovereign council within hours.”
A TMC spokesman, Shams El Din Kabbashi, also said the talks had gone well.
“God willing the talks will continue this evening and we are very optimistic that we can reach a final result and announce it to the Sudanese people,” he said.
The TMC has dismissed and arrested some former officials, and has announced anti-corruption measures and promised to give executive authority to a civilian government, but has signaled that ultimate authority would remain in its hands.
Bashir was overthrown after 16 weeks of protests triggered by a deepening economic crisis. He is being held along with other former officials at Khartoum’s Kobar prison.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted Bashir for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, charges he denies.
On Saturday Sadiq al-Mahdi, the veteran leader of Sudan’s opposition Umma Party, which is part of the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces, said he thought Sudan should join the court.
“Now I have no objection to responding to its demands, and it’s necessary immediately to join (the ICC), but this position has to be coordinated with the military council,” Mahdi told reporters.
The military council has previously suggested that Bashir would be tried in Sudan, where the public prosecutor has begun investigating him, according to a judicial source.
Separately, the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces condemned a reported raid on a meeting of the Popular Congress Party, which was allied to Bashir before turning against him.
Though it said the party bore responsibility for what had happened over the past 30 years, there was “no place for the exclusion of rights by force in the nation that our fearless revolutionaries are working to promote”, the alliance said in a statement.
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