Sudan talks on again

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Sudan’s military rulers and the main opposition alliance met at a Khartoum hotel to restart talks over who should lead Sudan to elections.

Negotiations between the two parties collapsed a month ago, after security services raided a sit-in protest camp outside the defence ministry.

The opposition has been staging protests to demand the military give up power since April, when armed forces toppled President Omar al-Bashir, ending his 30-year rule after months of demonstrations.

The Forces of Freedom and Change opposition alliance was prepared for direct talks with the ruling Transitional Military Council over who should head a sovereign council to lead Sudan to elections.

The opposition alliance said the talks, in response to a call for negotiations from an Ethiopian mediator, should last three days. It called on government to release political prisoners.

There appeared to be progress towards that demand later, when state TV reported the military council pardoned 235 detained members of the Sudan Liberation Movement, a rebel group active in western Darfur.

The prisoners would be released immediately unless wanted in connection with other legal proceedings, it said.

The two sides agreed on proposals presented by Ethiopian and African Union mediators to solve the crisis, Mahmoud Dirir, the Ethiopian mediator, said.

They still disagree over the structure of a sovereign council meant to lead the country during a transitional period, Dirir said.