Sudan military council, opposition welcome power-sharing agreement

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A Sudanese man flashes the victory gesture as people gather outside al-Huda prison in the capital Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman on July 4, 2019, during a ceremony marking the release of 235 members of a faction of the Sudan Liberation Army. (AFP / ASHRAF SHAZLY)
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Abd al-Rahim Hamdan Dagalo (R, front), a commander of Sudan's Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitaries and the brother of their top commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo "Himediti", attends a ceremony marking the release of 235 members of a faction of the Sudan Liberation Army. (AFP / ASHRAF SHAZLY)
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General Jamal Omar (R), a member of Sudan's Transitional Military Council (TMC), attends a ceremony marking the release of 235 members of a faction of the Sudan Liberation Army on July 4, 2019. (AFP / ASHRAF SHAZLY)
Updated 05 July 2019

Sudan military council, opposition welcome power-sharing agreement

  • Saudi Arabia welcomed the power-sharing agreement that Sudan’s ruling military council and the Alliance for Freedom and Change reached on Friday
  • The UAE congratulated Sudan on its power-sharing agreement and said that it stands with Khartoum in “good times and bad times”

KHARTOUM: Sudan's ruling military council and its pro-democracy movement both welcomed a new power-sharing agreement reached Friday, raising hopes that the deal would end a three-month political crisis that has paralyzed the country and led to scores of deaths following a violent crackdown on peaceful protesters by authorities.
News of the deal touched off street celebrations in the capital of Khartoum with hundreds dancing and waving Sudan's flag as drivers honked their horns. The crisis has gripped Sudan ever since the military ousted longtime autocrat Omar Al-Bashir in April.

Saudi Arabia welcomed the power-sharing agreement that Sudan’s ruling military council and the Alliance for Freedom and Change reached on Friday.  

A statement issued by the foreign ministry said the Kingdom hopes that this step will be the beginning of a new phase of security and stability in Sudan, and reaffirmed its support for Sudan and its people.

The sides agreed to form a joint military and civilian sovereign council to lead the country during a transition period of three years and three months, said a statement by the Sudanese Professionals' Association, which has spearheaded the protests. The joint council had been a sticking point in the negotiations.
The council will include five civilians representing the protest movement and five military members. An 11th seat will go to a civilian chosen by both sides. A military member will preside over the council for the first 21 months, followed by a civilian member after that, according to the statement.
That suggested a significant concession by pro-democracy forces, which had insisted that the sovereign council have only a civilian president. But the deal also secured a key demand by protest leaders: that they select the members of a technocratic Cabinet to be formed independently from the generals.
The creation of a legislative council will be postponed for three months, during which time the sovereign council will make the nation's laws.
"Today, our revolution has won and our victory shines," the SPA said in the statement, which was posted on its Facebook page.
The generals also hailed the deal, with the military-controlled Al-Sudan TV channel playing national songs and rerunning excerpts of the news conference by both sides announcing the agreement, with the caption: "Congratulations to the Sudanese people."

"This deal will be comprehensive and will not exclude anyone and will meet the ambitions of the Sudanese people and their victorious revolution," said Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy chief of the ruling military council, speaking at the news conference with protest leaders and African mediators.
The talks had collapsed when security forces razed a protest camp outside the military headquarters in Khartoum on June 3, and protest leaders said more than 100 people have been killed since then. In the ensuing weeks, protesters stayed in the streets, demanding that the generals hand power to civilian leadership.
Omer El-Digair, a leader of the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a coalition representing the protesters, said they hoped that forming the transitional institutions "marks the beginning of a new era."
"We hope it is an era where we can shut off the sound of pistols and destroy for good prisons of arbitrary detention," he said at the news conference.

“We would like to reassure all political forces, armed movements and all those who participated in the change from young men and women … that this agreement will be comprehensive and will not exclude anyone,” said General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, deputy head of the Transitional Military Council.
“We thank the African and Ethiopian mediators for their efforts and patience. We also thank our brothers in the Forces for Freedom and Change for the good spirit,” said Dagalo, who heads the Rapid Support Forces accused by the FFC of crushing the sit-in.
Opposition medics say more than 100 people were killed in the dispersal and subsequent violence. The government put the death toll at 62.

The UAE congratulated Sudan on its power-sharing agreement and said that it stands with Khartoum in “good times and bad times.”

The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash also wrote on Twitter  that he hopes the “next stage will witness the establishment of a solid constitutional system that will strengthen the role of institutions with broad national and popular support.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday he was encouraged by a power-sharing deal reached between Sudan's military rulers and protest leaders on a transition to civilian rule.
Guterres "encourages all stakeholders to ensure the timely, inclusive, and transparent implementation of the agreement and resolve any outstanding issues through dialogue," said a UN statement.

Egypt and the Arab League also welcomed the power-sharing agreement between the ruling military council and a coalition of opposition and protest groups.  


Bahrain says it broke up militant attack plot in early 2020

Updated 33 min 1 sec ago

Bahrain says it broke up militant attack plot in early 2020

  • The plot targeting diplomats and foreign nationals was foiled earlier in the year
  • Authorities uncovered the plot after finding an explosive on the street believed to have been planted to target a ‘foreign delegation’

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: Bahrain said Monday it broke up a plot by militants backed by Iran earlier this year to launch attacks on diplomats and foreigners in the island nation home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet.
The announcement came hours after Saudi state television and a Bahraini local newspaper implied the plot was new in their reporting Sunday night, just days after the island kingdom normalized relations with Israel. Bahraini government officials, who routinely claim breaking up plots by militants backed by Iran, did not respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press over the confusion.
The details of the plot became public as tensions between Iran and the US remain high after the Trump administration claimed to have re-invoked all United Nations sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program — something disputed by other world powers. The militants reportedly sought revenge for the US drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in January, something long threatened by his colleagues in Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.
Iran’s mission to the UN dismissed Bahrain’s claim of Tehran being involved as just “another instance in a long line of preposterous and false allegations, with no basis in truth.”
“It appears there is no limit to Iran-bashing by the US and its client states in the region, who are trying to divert attention from their recent betrayal to Palestinians and their own people,” mission spokesman Alireza Miryousefi told the AP.
The Saudi state TV report aired previously unseen footage of what appeared to be police raiding a home with a hidden passage. The footage showed assault rifles and explosives, apparently seized in the raid.
Nine militants have been arrested, while another nine are believed to be in Iran, the Saudi state TV report said.
Authorities uncovered the plot after finding an explosive on the street believed to have been planted to target a “foreign delegation,” the pro-government Bahraini newspaper Akhbar Al-Khaleej reported, citing the Interior Ministry. The ministry accused the Guard of supporting the militants, who also had surveilled oil sites and military bases, the newspaper said. The militants also planned on assassinating bodyguards of Bahraini officials, the newspaper said.
It wasn’t clear when all the arrests and alleged plots took place, as the Akhbar Al-Khaleej report referred to incidents dating as far back as 2017. The newspaper linked the militants to the Al-Ashtar Brigade, a Shiite group that has claimed responsibility for a number of bombings and attacks in Bahrain, including two that killed police. The group has been sanctioned by the US
Bahrain’s Interior Ministry later published what it described as a “clarification” saying the cases dated to the start of the year and “is not new.” However, media is tightly controlled on the island and access to such trials is routinely limited, suggesting authorities at the least encouraged the initial reporting.
Bahrain is home to the 5th Fleet, which patrols the waterways of the Mideast. Officials have worried in the past that the sailors and Marines attached to the base in Manama could be targeted, as well as others who make up the 7,000 American troops there. Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the 5th Fleet, declined to comment and referred questions to the Bahraini government.
Bahrain, an island off the coast of Saudi Arabia, just last week normalized relations with Israel alongside the United Arab Emirates, in part over their joint suspicion of Iran. The UAE has said their move also pushed Israel to halt its contentious plan to annex occupied West Bank land sought by the Palestinians. Civil society groups in Bahrain have opposed the normalization decision.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the reported arrests in Bahrain.
Iran under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi had pushed to take over Bahrain after the British left the country, although Bahrainis in 1970 overwhelmingly supported becoming an independent nation and the UN Security Council unanimously backed that. Since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, Bahrain’s rulers have blamed Iran for arming militants on the island. Iran denies the accusations.