April 29, 2019
KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s military rulers and an opposition alliance met on Monday to discuss the powers of a joint military-civilian council to steer the country’s transition after three decades of rule by Omar al-Bashir, two sources familiar with the proceedings said.
The two sides had been due to talk about the make-up of the proposed body, but military officers who toppled Bashir on April 11 focused the discussions instead on the future council’s functions and powers, the sources said.
A further meeting between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces, an umbrella group representing opposition groups and activists, will be held to discuss the council’s composition, they added.
The make-up of the proposed council is key because activists who organized 16 weeks of protests leading to Bashir’s ouster have insisted that the body be civilian led. The TMC has not indicated that it is willing to cede ultimate authority.
The joint council would be the sovereign body overseeing a technocrat government and a legislative council.
After Bashir’s ouster the TMC announced it would remain in place for two years ahead of elections. The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces wants a four-year transition overseen by a civilian-led council with military representation.
Protesters have kept up pressure on the TMC through mass rallies and a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry in Khartoum that began on April 6.
Monday’s meeting was held at the presidential palace on the banks of the Blue Nile in Khartoum, a short distance from the sit-in.
(Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Janet Lawrence)