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Sudan’s main opposition coalition says agreed to mediator draft agreement

KHARTOUM – Sudan’s main opposition coalition said on Saturday it had received a draft agreement from the Ethiopian mediator and had agreed to all of its points defining the country’s governmental structure for the transitional period.

A draft of the Ethiopian proposal seen by Reuters suggested that the sovereign council would be made up of seven civilians and seven members of the military with one additional seat reserved for an impartial individual.

Babikr Faisal, a spokesman for the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition, gave no details on the contents of the agreement.

“Our acceptance of the Ethiopian mediation proposal pushes all the parties to face their responsibilities toward continuing to effort a political solution,” the coalition later said in a statement.

“Therefore we demand that the document be approved by the military council in order to move the situation in Sudan (forward).”

The ruling generals and the coalition have been wrangling for weeks over what form Sudan’s transitional government would take after the military deposed and detained long-time president Omar al-Bashir on April 11.

In May, the parties came to an initial agreement that gave two-thirds of a transitional legislative council to the FFC coalition and allowed them to nominate candidates for a merit-based cabinet of ministers. The Ethiopian draft seen by Reuters suggested this would remain the case.

However, both sides were deadlocked on whether civilians or the military would control a new sovereign council to lead Sudan toward elections.

The coalition was meant to meet the Ethiopian envoy on Saturday, Faisal said, but the meeting was postponed.

Talks between the military and the opposition alliance collapsed when security forces stormed a protest sit-in outside the Defence Ministry on June 3, killing dozens.

There have been no direct talks since them, but Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the African Union have been trying to mediate between the sides.

The opposition accused the military council of ordering the sit-in’s dispersal using force and wants an international inquiry. Witnesses said the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, headed by the military council’s deputy, carried out the violence.

The military said a crackdown on criminals spilled over to the sit-in area, but some officers have been detained for presumed responsibility.

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