Sudan Forces Join Hands Ahead of Constitutional Talks

(Cairo) Two of Sudan’s most important political movements have reached an agreement to act as one.

The Freedom and Change Declaration Forces, a civilian political movement, and the Revolutionary Front, a coalition of armed groups, reached the agreement after a week of negotiations in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Both groups are members of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition, the main opposition group in Sudan. They said early on July 25 that they would form a panel to lead the FFC in the coming days.

The two groups also agreed to speed up the formation of a civilian authority in Sudan and achieve peace in the restive African state.

The agreement between the two groups comes almost a week after the FFC and the ruling Transitional Military Council signed a power-sharing deal that opens the door for the formation of a sovereign ruling council. It also came as the FFC, other political forces and the military council prepared to start a new round of negotiations on a constitutional document that will determine the type of government Sudan will have during its transition and the formation of the legislature.

The Revolutionary Front was one of several members of the FFC that objected to the power-sharing deal.

It said the document gave the chance to the army to tighten its grip on power and also overlooked the need for bringing officials of the regime of ousted Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir to court.

Sudan has been in chaos, one tainted with blood, since the downfall of Bashir’s regime on April 11.

The subsequent three months saw the military council killing unarmed demonstrators on the streets, the economy deteriorating and security conditions getting worse.

The power-sharing document was signed by the military council and the FFC on July 17. The deal gives the military council the right to have five members in the 11-member Sovereign Council that will be formed in Sudan. The remaining six members will include five representatives of the FFC and a civilian.

Soon after signing of the deal, representatives of the political groups forming the FFC travelled to neighboring Ethiopia, which mediates the negotiations between the military council and the political forces, for consultations and agreement.

The July 25 agreement between the Freedom and Change Declaration Forces and the front is important in that it unites two of the most important components of the FFC. The two groups are also important players on Sudan’s political stage.

This, analysts said, means that the political forces negotiating with the military council will be more united as they start negotiations on the constitutional document.

“This agreement is an important step on the road of peace in Sudan,” said Malik Agar, the head of the front. “Sudanese citizens have the right to be proud of it.”

Omar al-Dagir, one of the leaders of the Freedom and Change Declaration Forces, said that the agreement helps some of Sudan’s political forces overcome hindrances on the road to their unity.

“This is important for achieving the objectives of the revolution,” al-Dagir said. “It will also help us form the government and name our representatives in the Sovereign Council.”

Nevertheless, other Sudanese political forces and armed groups are yet to come on board, meaning that the opposition is yet to form a united front as it negotiates with the military council on the constitutional document.

This is important if any future settlement for the political conflict in Sudan will last and be inclusive, though some of the political forces and parties and armed groups do not seem to be convinced of the whole negotiating process with the military council.