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Distrust mars deal to relaunch Sudan’s political transition

An agreement to relaunch a political transition in Sudan and unlock billions of dollars in frozen international support faces many pitfalls, including distrust of the signatories and splits over issues left to a second phase of talks, analysts say.

The outline deal signed by the military and civilian parties on December 5 also provides no guarantees that army leaders who staged a coup just over one year ago will cede real power, despite their promise to step back from politics, they say.

The military takeover in October 2021 plunged Sudan into uncertainty, triggering a long campaign of mass demonstrations against the army and derailing an economic and political opening begun after the overthrow of long-time leader Omar al-Bashir two and a half years earlier.

Exit from crisis

The framework agreement signed this month charts an exit from the crisis for the country of 45 million, which lies in a strategic position between the Red Sea and the Sahel, but sets no deadline and is vague on next steps.

These include tackling questions that fuelled tensions between the military and civilians when they shared power before the coup: reform of the security forces, justice for civilians killed during protests, dismantling Bashir’s regime, and a push to end decades of internal conflict in Darfur and other regions.

“These are the fundamental issues in Sudanese politics, the most complex points of dispute, and could be the future cause of the agreement’s collapse,” said Khaled al-Tijani, an analyst and editor of Sudan’s Elaph newspaper.

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