Sudan’s military and political rulers sign deal

The agreement ends a standoff that began with a coup in 2021 and involved the US and Russia

The Sudanese military and political parties have agreed to work towards a democratic government, ending a crisis that began when the army seized power in a coup last year. 

Signed on Monday by Sudan’s two ruling generals, Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan and Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, and civilian leaders of the Forces for Freedom and Change coalition, the deal provides for a two-year transition toward democratic elections, and places the Sudanese military under the control of a civilian prime minister, Reuters reported.

The agreement is the first of two planned deals aimed at restoring political stability in Sudan, but has been boycotted by protest groups known as the Resistance Committees, which have continually refused to negotiate with the military. A group of former military leaders, who have broken away to form their own political bloc, have also rejected the deal.

The Resistance Committees have already called for demonstrations against the agreement.

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US threatens African nation over Russian military base plan

Sudan was ruled by Omar al-Bashir from 1989 until 2019, when he was ousted in a military coup and charged with corruption. Al-Burhan stepped in to oversee a four-year transition to civilian rule and appointed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to lead this transition. However, al-Burhan’s forces arrested Hamdok and his cabinet in a series of raids last October, with al-Burhan declaring that from that point on, the military alone would oversee the remainder of the transition.

The US immediately froze $700 million in aid to Khartoum, with State Department spokesman Ned Price warning that Washington would use “any and all appropriate measures” to force the African nation back to civilian rule. 

Bashir’s relations with the US had been equally frosty, however, with Sudan under US sanctions since the early 1990s, when Washington accused him of harboring Osama bin Laden. Bashir signed a military cooperation deal with Russia in 2017, and al-Burhan’s government agreed in 2020 to host a Russian naval base on Sudan’s Red Sea coast.

In September, the first US ambassador to Sudan in 25 years, John Godfrey, threatened al-Burhan with unspecified “consequences” if he followed through on building the base, warning that doing so “will be harmful to Sudan’s interest.” The aid package frozen by the US in 2021 was allegedly contingent on Sudan canceling the agreement with Moscow.

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