African Union mediator Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt has lauded the deal initialled by Sudan’s Transitional Military Council and the Alliance for Freedom and Change on Wednesday July 17th.
The deal was signed as part of a plan set to bring about the formation of a civilian government and was reached earlier in July about two months after the ousting of former President Omar al-Bashir, with ongoing talks to remove differences on both sides. It is based on power-sharing, with the aim of achieving a smooth transition in Sudan.
According to the deal, Sudan will hold democratic elections after a total of 39 months, with a military leader set to lead the country in the first 21 months to be succeeded by a civilian leader for another 18 months.
In an interview with Sky News, Lebatt on Wednesday described the agreement as “crystal clear” and “very important,” saying that it “constitutes a crucial step towards a comprehensive reconciliation."
The deal is based on the “main principle” of partnership between the two sides, Lebatt said.
The process agreed by the two sides would be very similar to parliamentary systems in which the civilian government and the prime minister are given wide authority.
Asked whether names of candidates for the sovereign council have been specified so far, Lebatt said:
“Don’t forget … that I am a mediator. I have got a Sudanese heart, blood and mind, but announcing such names is up to the Sudanese [people] themselves, and when they are specified, they will announce to the public the name of the prime minister and cabinet members, as well as the name of the president and members of their sovereign council.
“It is not proper that I get asked about them (the names) and it is not possible for me to respond to it, and honestly I don’t know for now.
“It has been agreed for this civilian government to be formed of national, competent and independent [members]. The main standard for [choosing] the prime minister and ministers will be competence, the national character, and the independence from political influence.”
The Ethiopian Embassy in Sudan welcomed the deal signed by the two sides, encouraging them to "continue the same spirit of cooperation to conclude a constitutional decree."
Choking back tears, Ethiopian mediator Mahmud Dirir referred to the political agreement reached, saying “we are honoured as two mediators representing the African Union and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to be partners in a critical stage in the modern history of this great country of Sudan and this great and sincere people.”
Sudan has to “break free from the crucible of poverty and the crucible of the blockade imposed on it and the file of the so-called state-sponsored terrorism,” Dirir said.
“These great people deserve this day in which its members cooperated. I don’t call [them] parties and I don’t call [them] two sides. Instead, I call them the united single bloc, with its great army, the transitional military council and the brave people of Forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change.”