Ethiopia, AU float proposal for peace in Sudan

International

A protester flashes the victory sign, as others block a road during a protest, in Khartoum, Sudan, Monday, June 24, 2019. The United Nations’ top human rights official is urging Sudan’s military rulers to allow her office to investigate a deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

CAIRO (AP) — Sudan’s protest movement on Thursday said it received a new, joint proposal from the African Union and Ethiopia for a solution to the crisis in Sudan.

In recent weeks, Ethiopia and the AU have been mediating between the military council and the pro-democracy movement demanding civilian rule. Talks collapsed when Sudanese security forces cleared a protest camp in the capital, Khartoum, earlier this month. The deadly clampdown killed at least 128 people cross the county, according to protest organizers. Authorities say the toll is at 61, including three security forces.

Protest leaders, represented by the coalition Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, said in a brief statement they have a draft of a proposed agreement with the military council, based on an a previous initiative from Ethiopia for a power-sharing agreement. The military council took over the country after massive protests drove longtime autocratic president Omar al-Bashir from power in April.

Ethiopia’s initiative was built on previous agreements between the military and the protesters. It also tackled the disputed makeup of the sovereign council, proposing a 15-member body with eight civilian and seven military members, with a rotating chairmanship.

All the civilians in the proposed council would come from the FDFC, except for one independent and “neutral” appointee, according to a copy of the proposal obtained by The Associated Press.

The Ethiopian proposal also stipulates that the military would chair the council in the first 18 months, and the FDFC the second half of the transition.

The military council, however, had refused to agree to that, saying the initiative was to pave the way for resuming talks with the FDFC, “not to offer proposals for solutions.” It asked Ethiopia to present a joint proposal with the AU, which it said had handed the military a separate transition plan.

The U.S. envoy to Sudan met Thursday with Arab League chief Ahmed Abuel-Gheit in Cairo after he concluded a four-day visit to the Sudanese capital.

Donald Booth expressed America’s support for the Sudanese protest movement and called for a civilian-led government amid stalled negotiations between the pro-democracy leaders and the ruling military.

The U.S Embassy in Khartoum said in a statement Wednesday that Booth urged the military to stop attacking protesters and allow for an independent probe into the crackdown.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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