Sudan factions initial pact ushering in transitional government

The document is complementary to a power-sharing deal signed on July 17 that aims to form a joint civilian-military ruling body. (File/AFP)
Updated 05 August 2019

Sudan factions initial pact ushering in transitional government

  • Saudi Arabia welcomes deal in Sudanthat paves the way to civilian rule
  • A new prime minister will be named on Aug. 20 and a cabinet on Aug. 28

KHARTOUM: Sudan's military rulers and the main opposition coalition initialled a constitutional declaration on Sunday, paving the way for a transitional government following the overthrow of long-time leader Omar al-Bashir.
The two sides reached agreement on Saturday on the shape of a transitional government in lengthy negotiations since Bashir's overthrow by the army in April.
The parties are expected to put their final signatures on the agreement on Aug. 17 at a ceremony in Khartoum attended by foreign leaders.
Bashir, who is wanted for war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region by the International Criminal Court, was deposed after months of mass protests. Continuing unrest, during which dozens of demonstrators were killed, has plunged Sudan into turmoil.
Sunday's formalities were attended by African Union and Ethiopian mediators, who had helped broker the accord. Those present in the room clapped and cheered as army and civilian representatives held up copies of the agreement.
Hundreds celebrated in the streets, dancing, chanting revolutionary songs, waving national flags and sounding horns.
"Today, the civilian state is achieved," said Nusseibeh Abdullah, a 21-year-old woman.

We turned a tough page of Sudan’s history by signing this agreement.

Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, deputy head of Sudan military council

One of Sudan's top generals, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who is deputy head of the Transitional Military council that will be superseded by the interim government, said the agreement was a victory for Sudan.
"We have finally agreed on a constitutional document that will change the course of history for our country," he said.
Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, some of whose members have been accused of involvement in killing demonstrators who have repeatedly turned out in huge numbers to press for political progress.

Transition
Despite the optimism, some have cautioned that it is still too early to tell how events will unfold in the lengthy transition period required to prepare for elections after three decades of autocratic rule under Bashir.
"It is not the first time that Sudan signed some sort of agreement to resolve very difficult political questions," said Magdi el-Gizouli, a Sudanese academic and a fellow of the Rift Valley Institute.
But he added: "I think if there is reason for optimism, the reason is not in the negotiation rooms, the reason is in this popular movement that doesn’t want to go away."
Ethiopian mediator Mahmoud Dirir said the agreement "establishes civilian and democratic rule that seeks to build a state of law, a state of equality, a state which does not marginalise its citizens".
The agreement was welcomed by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, all of which see themselves as influential in Khartoum. Sudanese troops are currently operating in Yemen as part of a Saudi-led coalition is fighting Houthi rebels.
According to a document seen by Reuters, the formation of a sovereign council, which will run the country during a three-year transitional period leading up to elections, will be announced on Aug. 18.
A new prime minister will be named on Aug. 20 and a cabinet on Aug. 28. The cabinet and the sovereign council will meet together on Sept. 1, ahead of the appointment of a legislative assembly in three months.
The 300-member assembly will serve during the transitional period. The main opposition coalition, the Forces of Freedom and Change, will have 67% of its seats and other political groups not associated with Bashir will have the rest.

Welcomed by allies

The Saudi Foreign Ministry welcomed the agreement as “a quantum leap that will transition Sudan to stability and security,” and Egypt said it was “a significant step on the right track.” 

In the UAE, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said Sudan’s transition to civilian rule “turns the page” on former ruler Omar Bashir and his Islamist allies.

(With Reuters)


Full steam ahead for Egypt-Sudan rail network

Updated 27 October 2020

Full steam ahead for Egypt-Sudan rail network

  • Gateway project will open continent to new trade and jobs, says Cairo minister

CAIRO: Egypt’s Minister of Transport Kamel Al-Wazir has discussed plans with Sudanese counterpart Hashem bin Auf to build a cross-border railway network between the two neighboring countries.

The pair discussed terms of a joint cooperation document for railway connectivity, which aims to provide funding for an economic, social and environmental feasibility study for the project.

The planned network will extend from the Egyptian city of Aswan across the southern border to Sudan’s Wadi Halfa in its first phase.

Funding will be organized through cooperation between Egypt, Sudan and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.

Al-Wazir signed the document and delivered it to the Sudanese ambassador in Cairo for signing by the country’s transport minister.

The two sides also discussed a number of road projects, including a prospective land road between Egypt and Chad through Sudan. The project aims to be a gateway for trade between the two countries, Chad and West Africa. The Cairo-Sudan-Cape Town road, which passes through nine African countries, was also mentioned by the ministers.

Al-Wazir also said that Egypt is building a Cairo-Arqin road corridor inside its borders, which passes through the governorates of Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, Sohag, Qena, Luxor and Aswan, and then then extends to the Egyptian border, passing through the Toshka junctions to Arqin, parallel with Sudan.

He added that the new project is important in achieving land connectivity and increasing trade with African countries, as well as serving Egyptian and African citizens, opening new job opportunities and encouraging comprehensive development.

The Sudanese side also requested cooperation with Egypt in maritime transport and the training of maritime cadres at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport.

Al-Wazir said that Egypt will provide its capabilities to train the workers, whether through the Arab Academy, Egyptian ports or the Egyptian Authority for Maritime Safety.

The two sides also agreed to hold a joint meeting to follow up on the progress of other cooperation projects and to discuss the development of the Nile Valley Authority for River Navigation.

Al-Wazir’s team said that the coming period should include urgent plans to develop the authority, train river workers and provide support through specialized technical cadres.