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Sudan’s military council calls to unify Ethiopian and AU propositions on transitional period

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Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's ruling military council, attends an emergency summit of Gulf Arab leaders in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, May 30, 2019 (AP Photo)
June 23, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s military junta Sunday said they asked the Ethiopian mediator and the African Union envoy to present a joint draft agreement on the transitional institutions, instead of two separate drafts as it was agreed previously.

The Transitional Military Council (TMC) spokesperson, Shams al-Din Kabbashi who is also the head of political committee held a press conference following a meeting of the Ethiopian Mediator Mahmoud Dirir with the head of the Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to discuss a draft agreement the opposition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) have already approved.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Kabbashi said the Ethiopian mediator had already agreed to hand over his proposal last week but delayed it. He further added the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told them during his visit to Khartoum that the two would work together and submit a joint proposal.

Accordingly, the President of the Transitional Council did not read the Ethiopian paper, which is contrary to the agreement with the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed to present a joint proposal by the African Union Ethiopian government.

"Al-Burhan, further, requested the Ethiopian Mediator and the African Union Envoy who presented a separate proposal to make a joint draft agreement before to give his response," said the TMC spokesperson.

In response to a question, he said the two African officials should come to meet him tonight or tomorrow.

Nonetheless, he did not disclose the content of the proposal made by the African Union. Also we reporters asked to develop on this respect the spokesperson and the deputy head of political committee Yasir al-Atta avoided to speak about its content.

The two diplomats for the first time held a joint meeting with the FFC representatives but they did not give them a written copy of the African Union proposal the TMC spoke about.

"We met the AU envoy and the Ethiopian diplomats but all the issues they spoke about were similar and they did not hand over a draft agreement from the African Union. so, we guess they have one draft which was already submitted by Ambassador Dirir," an FFC official told Sudan Tribune after the meeting.

The African Union’s Peace and Security (PSC) based on the principle of subsidiarity entrusted the Ethiopian Prime Minister as the IGAD head to mediation a solution paving the way to speedily establish a civilian-led transitional authority in Sudan.

The Sudanese military officials have never referred in their statements to the PSC decision or the suspension of Sudan membership at the Union African.

They always mention the efforts carried out by Dirdir as the "Ethiopian mediation" not the IGAD or the African Union mediation, while the describe AU Commission Envoy Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt as the African Union mediator.

On Saturday the FFC declared their acceptance of the draft agreement made by the Ethiopian diplomat saying it was in conformity with their demand for a civilian-led government.

The draft agreement provides that the Sovereign Council will be composed of 7 members of each side in addition to an independent civilian be agreed by the two sides. The proposal also says the FFC will nominate a government of technocrats to lead the country during the 3-year transitional period and will appoint 67% of the transitional legislative assembly.

Kabbashi said there are several medication initiatives citing the South Sudanese initiative and Nigerian initiatives but stressed they prefer for the time been to work with the two envoys.

U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan Donald Booth will be Monday in Khartoum for meetings with the military council and the opposition FFC.

Booth will encourage the parties to join hands to achieve the political and economic tasks of the transitional period.

(ST)

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