Sudan's Opposition, Military Council Says Talks Advance to Form New Ruling Body

'Today we have taken positive steps and we expect to reach an agreement satisfactory to all parties,' announces opposition negotiator

Presidential protection guards from South Sudan's People Defence Force (SSPDF) cheer as they stand in a formation at their training site in Rejaf West, outside Juba, South Sudan, April 26, 2019.
\ ANDREEA CAMPEANU/ REUTERS

Sudan’s opposition alliance and ruling military council said after talks on Saturday that they expected to agree on the formation of a new body to lead the country’s transition from 30 years of autocratic rule by Omar al-Bashir.

Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) ousted and arrested Former President Bashir on April 11 following months of protests, saying it would rule for up to two years ahead of elections.

Anti-Bashir opposition groups and protesters who have kept up a sit-in outside the defense ministry want a civilian-led transitional council with military representation.

Under an umbrella group known as the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces, they met the TMC on Saturday to try to resolve the standoff.

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“Today we have taken positive steps and we expect to reach an agreement satisfactory to all parties,” said Ayman Nimir, an opposition negotiator.

“We expect to receive a response from the military council regarding the formation of a sovereign council within hours.”

A TMC spokesman, Shams El Din Kabbashi, also said the talks had gone well.

“God willing the talks will continue this evening and we are very optimistic that we can reach a final result and announce it to the Sudanese people,” he said.

The TMC has dismissed and arrested some former officials, announced anti-corruption measures and promised to give executive authority to a civilian government, but has previously signaled that ultimate authority will remain in its hands.

Bashir was overthrown and detained by the military after 16 weeks of protests triggered by a deepening economic crisis.