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Sudan to unveil new government today

Deputy Chairman of the Sudanese Transitional Military Council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, and Sudan’s opposition alliance coalition’s leader Ahmad al-Rabiah, sign a power sharing deal, as Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed witnesses, in Khartoum, Sudan, August 17

Sudan will unveil today 18 August a new sovereign council, which will run the country during a three-year transitional period leading up to elections.

This is one of the highlights of the power sharing agreement between Sudan’s main opposition coalition and the ruling military council on Saturday.

TMC spokesman Shams El Din Kabbashi said that Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the military council, and Lieutenant General Yasser Al-Atta were among those selected.

Under Saturday’s accord, the council will have five members each from the two sides plus a civilian agreed by both. It will name Sudan’s new premier based on a nomination by the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC).

The agreement also provides for a 300-member legislative assembly to serve during the transitional period, and a cabinet of technocrats.

Tens of thousands of people of all ages took to the streets of the capital Khartoum in celebration, with many heading toward the newly renamed Freedom Square, once the site of many of Bashir’s rallies.

State television showed dozens of people lined up outside the convention centre where the signing ceremony was held, waving Sudanese flags and flashing peace signs in celebration.

A train carrying hundreds of protesters from Atbara, where the uprising began on Dec. 19, arrived in Khartoum in celebration and was met by cheering crowds.

Stability in Sudan, which has been grappling with an economic crisis, is seen as crucial for a volatile region struggling with conflict and insurgencies from the Horn of Africa to Egypt and Libya.

One of Sudan’s top generals, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who is deputy head of the military council, and opposition alliance representative Ahmad al-Rabie had initialed the agreement on Aug. 4 and were the main signatories on Saturday.

Those in the room clapped and cheered and an orchestra played a patriotic song.

“I invite everyone to make this day a new stage of getting over the bitterness of the past and looking toward the future,” Lieutenant General al-Burhan, said at the end of the ceremony.

Also present were African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who helped broker the accord, and representatives from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, all of which see themselves as influential in Khartoum.

“The coming period will be a test for us, no one will be excluded,” said leading opposition figure Sadiq al-Mahdi, Sudan’s last democratically elected premier. “We will open the door to everyone to participate in Sudan’s celebration.”

The Transitional Military Council (TMC) has ruled Sudan since April, when the military deposed Bashir following months of protests against his rule during which dozens of demonstrators were killed.

The main challenge for the new government will be an economic crisis stemming from a shortage of foreign currency, resulting in a cash crunch and long lines for fuel and bread.

Sudan’s economy has suffered since South Sudan seceded in 2011, taking the lion’s share of its oil resources. Economists say foreign investors and banks are put off by Sudan’s continued designation by Washington as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Saudi Arabia would continue to assist Sudan, minister of state for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir told the press conference.

Bashir is wanted for war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region by the International Criminal Court, and is awaiting trial in Sudan on corruption charges.


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