Talks on Sudan power sharing

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Sudan’s military rulers and an opposition alliance met to discuss the powers of a joint military-civilian council to steer transition after three decades of rule by Omar al-Bashir, two sources familiar with the proceedings said.

The two sides were due to talk about the make-up of the proposed body, but military officers who toppled Bashir on April 11 focussed the discussions on the future council’s functions and powers, the sources said.

A further meeting between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces, an umbrella group representing opposition groups and activists, will discuss the council’s composition, they added.

The make-up of the proposed council is key because activists who organised 16 weeks of protests leading to Bashir’s ouster insist the body be civilian led. The TMC has not indicated any willingness to cede ultimate authority.

The joint council would be the sovereign body overseeing a technocrat government and legislative council.

After Bashir’s ouster the TMC announced it would remain in place for two years ahead of elections. The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces wants a four-year transition overseen by a civilian-led council with military representation.

Protesters kept up pressure on the TMC by way of mass rallies and a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry in Khartoum that began on April 6.

Monday’s meeting at the presidential palace on the banks of the Blue Nile in Khartoum is a short distance from the sit-in.