Sudan nears power-sharing deal amid growing pressure

As protests spread throughout the country, international pressure is growing on Sudan's military regime to reverse the coup or reach a deal to end the crisis.


Image : Ludovic MARIN /AFP

The coup in Sudan casts doubt over France’s pledge to cancel $5bn of Khartoum’s debt, the French foreign ministry said on Friday.

A pledge made by France at a Paris summit in July is ‘called into question’ by the military takeover on October 25, spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said.

The statement refers to an announcement made by Macron in May to cancel Sudan’s debt to France alongside other IMF member countries, who pledged a total of $1.4bn bridge loans to clear Khartoum’s arrears to the fund.

This removed Sudan’s final hurdle to securing a critical programme through the IMF-World Bank Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, to begin restructuring $60bn in external debt.

“A Paris Club agreement was reached on July 15, each creditor now having to sign a bilateral agreement with Sudan,” Legendre said.

“It is clear that the military coup of October 25 calls into question this process.”

The latest move builds on growing pressure on the leaders of the October 25 coup to resolve the fast-deteriorating political and economic crisis.

Last week the World Bank and US paused crucial aid to the country needed to return the country’s economy and political transition to stable ground.

Power-sharing deal

The leader of Sudan’s military coup, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, ordered the release of four ministers detained during the takeover, Sudan TV reported on Thursday.

The prisoner release was one of the pre-conditions to a power-sharing deal that is under discussion between military leaders and the ousted government, UN special representative to Sudan Volker Perthes told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

Perthes said the “contours” of the deal included the return of ousted prime minister Abdalla Hamdok to office, the release of detainees, the lifting of a state of emergency, a new cabinet composed of technocrats and adjustments to the 14-member Sovereign Council that heads the transition process, Reuters says.

The public disclosure of the deal comes amid ongoing talks between Hamdok and Perthes in an effort to chart a path out of the crisis.

Following the meeting, Perthes said that national and international mediation efforts were underway to broker a power-sharing agreement to settle the impasse “within the next couple of days.”

“Many of the interlocutors we are speaking with in Khartoum, but also internationally and regionally, are expressing a strong desire that we move forward quickly to get out of the crisis and return to the steps of normalcy, to the steps of political transition, as we viewed it before 25 October, on the basis of the Constitutional Declaration,” he said.

Politicians involved in the mediation efforts say the main compromise on the table is a proposal for Hamdok to resume full executive powers and appoint a cabinet of technocrats, according to Reuters. Under the proposal, which is being presented and considered by all sides, the 14-member Sovereign Council would be replaced with a three-person honorary council, Reuters says.

Protests continue

Anti-coup protests continued to throng Sudan’s cities over the weekend in the largest pro-democracy demostrations since the coup.

Responding to reports of lethal military crackdowns on protesters as they barricaded the streets of Khartoum, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged military leaders to reverse the takeover and restore the constitutional order.

Thousands of protesters turned out across ten Sudanese cities over the weekend, including in Port Sudan. Photo courtesy. of Amjad Hashim, Nov. 1

“Time to go back to the legitimate constitutional arrangements. Reports of violence are alarming and perpetrators must be brought to justice,” he tweeted on October 31.

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