Sudan military council says 'agreement' reached with protest leaders

Sudan military council says 'agreement' reached with protest leaders

The army had warned it would remove protesters camped outside its headquarters in the capital, Khartoum.

Sudanese protesters make victory signs outside the defense ministry compound in Khartoum, Sudan, April 24, 2019.

It then established a council to govern the country for a period of up to two years, but the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which spearheaded the anti-government protests that ended al-Bashir's almost three-decade presidency, has insisted on a civilian-led administration.

But protesters say the proposal would leave ultimate power in the hands of the military, demanding that the ruling council be staffed by civilians with military representation.

The Sudanese Professionals Association and its allies, who organized the four months of demonstrations that drove al-Bashir from power on April 11, have not yet accepted the invitation to Wednesday's meeting.

The military council and protest leaders also said a joint committee would be established to address political disputes between the two sides.

The TMC has been under pressure from demonstrators to hand power rapidly to civilians since the military ousted Bashir following months of protests against his 30 years in office.

The council said in a statement that Lieutenant General Jalal al-Deen Al-Sheikh, Police Lieutenant General Al-Tayeb Babakr and Lieutenant General Omar Zain al-Abideen have stepped down from their posts.

Protester Ayman Ali Mohamed said he was planning to join Thursday's march.

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Visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of African Affairs Makila James met separately Tuesday with members of the military council and protest leaders.

The demonstrations began in the central town of Atbara on December 19 against a decision by Bashir's government to triple bread prices.

They also urged the African Union to extend its deadline, now the end of April, for Sudan's military council to hand power to a civilian authority or face suspension from the regional bloc.

Despite Bashir's fall, demonstrators have kept up their encampment outside the military headquarters to press their demands.

"Revolutionaries from Madani want a civilian rule", the latest arrivals chanted, according to witnesses.

The protesters have found support in Washington, which has backed their call for civilian rule.

"We agreed on the need to give more time to Sudanese authorities and Sudanese parties to implement these measures", said Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who chaired the meeting.

"The army wants to steal our revolution but we will not let that happen", said Samir Bakhit, a student who travelled three hours from a village outside Khartoum to join the protest.

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