Sudan post-coup deal on civilian rule delayed again
Talks between military factions have further delayed the signing of an agreement to resume Sudan's democratic transition, civilian representatives said on Wednesday, calling for fresh nationwide protests.
A coup in October 2021 led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan had derailed the transition to civilian-led rule that began following the 2019 ouster of long-ruling general Omar al-Bashir.
Security reforms are a key point of contention in negotiations held over the past weeks, building on a preliminary accord reached in December to install a civilian government.
The signing ceremony scheduled for Thursday has been pushed back again "due to a resumption of talks between soldiers... on April 1 and 6", according to a statement by the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), a historic civilian bloc.
They said progress had been made on several points but one final question remained, after the ceremony was also delayed last week.
Experts say the sticking point in the proposed reforms is the integration into the regular army of the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by Burhan's deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.
The two men have been at loggerheads over the timetable for the RSF's integration and analysts have pointed to a deepening rift between them.
The FFC also called for peaceful nationwide protests on Thursday for "freedom, peace and justice" and against the return of "the old regime", after several high-ranking officials from the Bashir era found roles in the current administration.
In anticipation of the demonstrations, the authorities declared April 6 a non-working day. Witnesses said a large military presence was visible on Wednesday in parts of the capital Khartoum and its suburbs, blocking bridges over the River Nile.
April 6 is a symbolic date for Sudan's civilian movement, marking the anniversary of uprisings in 1985 and 2019 that ended up ousting two leaders who had seized power in coups.
The December deal, reached after near-weekly and deadly protests since the 2021 coup, calls for the military's exit from politics once a civilian government is installed.
The worsening state of Sudan's economy has put pressure on all sides to reach a deal, which is a precondition for the resumption of international aid to the impoverished country.
Created in 2013, the RSF emerged from the Janjaweed militia that Bashir unleashed a decade earlier in the western region of Darfur against rebels. The militia has since been accused by human rights groups of having committed war crimes.