International welcome and internal division in Sudan.. Hamdok confirms his independence and promises the release of all political detainees
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok confirmed that he will have complete freedom to form a government of national competencies and that all political detainees will be released soon, while the authorities directed the release of 4 of them. At a time when local reactions to the agreement varied, international bodies welcomed the move that brought together the military and civilian components.
The group of the National Accord Charter of the Forces of Freedom and Change supported the agreement, and the Central Council group rejected it and threatened to work to bring it down. Meanwhile, demonstrations took place in the capital’s cities to demand civilian rule, reject partnership, and demand justice for the victims of the demonstrations.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera, Hamdok said that one of the most important provisions of the new political agreement – which was signed with the Chairman of the Sovereign Council, Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan – is that the Prime Minister has the ability to form an independent government with full freedom and independence, stressing that all political detainees will be released soon.
He also stressed that the main idea in the next government is for a government of independent Sudanese technocrats, and that the remainder of the transitional period will push the next government to focus on very limited issues, on top of which is the implementation of the democratic transition and its benefits.
Hamdok said that he hopes that the Sudanese will reach a consensus to prevent bloodshed and open the way for democratic transformation, considering that Sudan was on the brink of an abyss, and that the various individual and collective initiatives were motivated by the keenness to avoid fragmentation and slipping towards an unknown fate, as he put it.
Meanwhile, an informed sovereign source told Al-Jazeera correspondent in Sudan that it had been directed to release 4 political detainees.
The source explained that the detainees are the head of the Sudanese Congress Party Omar Al-Digir, Al-Siddiq Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, the assistant head of the Umma Party, Yasser Arman, the advisor to the Prime Minister, and the Secretary of the Baath Socialist Party Ali Al-Sanhouri, stressing that the authorities have initiated the procedures for their release.
Hamdok had signed with Al-Burhan – at the Republican Palace in Khartoum – a political agreement to overcome the crisis in the country, according to which Hamdok returned to his position as prime minister. The agreement stipulated that the partnership between civilians and the military is the guarantor of the security of Sudan.
After the signing of the political agreement, the Sudanese Cabinet announced that Hamdok had assumed his duties at the head of the Council of Ministers.
The agreement – whose signing ceremony was attended by a number of political and military leaders – included 14 articles, most notably the cancellation of the decision to relieve Hamdok from heading the government, the release of all political detainees, and the supervision of the Sovereignty Council over the transitional period.
The new agreement stipulates the return of Hamdok as head of the competency government during the transitional period, and the release of civilian leaders arrested since the army seized power at the end of last month.
The agreement also includes completing consultations with political forces with the exception of the National Congress Party, and continuing the procedures for constitutional, legal and political consensus that govern the transitional period.
The agreement stipulates full adherence to the constitutional document until it is amended with the approval of all, and those involved in the killing of demonstrators are held accountable.
During the signing ceremony of the agreement, Hamdok called for consensus on how Sudan will be governed, and said that his signing of the agreement aims to spare the blood of the Sudanese and preserve the gains of the past two years.
For his part, Al-Burhan said that the new agreement established a real transitional phase, and that what was achieved had been worked on since before October 25.
In turn, the Deputy Chairman of the Transitional Sovereign Council, Muhammad Hamdan Hemedti, said that the agreement expressed the principles and goals of the December 2018 revolution, as he put it, expressing – in a post on his Facebook page – his willingness to work with Hamdok’s government to achieve the aspirations of the Sudanese people.
Hemedti called on regional and international partners to support Sudan to achieve democratic transition and hold elections at the end of the transitional period.
The Secretary-General of the People’s Congress Party, Muhammad Badr al-Din, also told Al Jazeera that the political agreement is acceptable, because he talked about expanding the base of participation and rejecting political exclusion.
As for the leader of the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement and the National Charter Front, Muhammad Zakaria, he told Al Jazeera that the agreement is a historic step that will contribute to stopping the political tension.
refusal of the agreement
On the other hand, the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahed Nour announced its rejection of the political agreement, and considered it in a statement – a copy of which Al Jazeera received – a legitimization of what it described as the military coup and a throwback from the goals and slogans of the December revolution, in reference to the demonstrations that erupted in December 2018 and ended with the overthrow of the regime of Omar al-Bashir.
For its part, the Forces for Freedom and Change – the Central Council group announced its rejection of the agreement, stressing that it did not address the roots of the crisis produced by what the coalition described as the October 25 coup. He stressed that his position is that there is no negotiation, no partnership, and no legitimacy for the coups, as he described it.
A member of the Central Council, Jamal Idris, told Al Jazeera that the new agreement represents Hamdok alone and does not represent the forces of freedom and change, declaring the determination to continue escalation through demonstrations to bring him down, considering that Hamdok acquiesced to the demands of those he described as putschists.
In turn, the Sudanese Professionals Association described the agreement as a betrayal, and announced its rejection of it altogether. He said – in a statement – that the agreement came in response to the wishes of those he described as putschists and an attempt to legitimize the coup and the political suicide of Hamdok, as he put it.
The former spokeswoman for the Sudanese Communist Party, Amal Al-Zein, confirmed – to Al Jazeera – her party’s rejection of the new agreement, calling on the political forces to unite in order to bring it down.
Internationally, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, hailed the political agreement as an important step in returning to the constitutional status.
In a statement, he encouraged all political, military and civilian actors to deepen this trend.
Faki called on the international community to renew its commitment and solidarity with Sudan, in order to restore security and prepare in an atmosphere of democratic reconciliation for free elections.
For its part, the United Nations Integrated Mission to Support Transitional Governance welcomed what it described as the consensus on resolving the constitutional and political crisis that was threatening the stability of the country.
The UN mission stressed the need to protect the constitutional order, basic freedoms for political action, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The mission expected that all those arrested since October 25 last year would be released as a first for implementing this agreement, as it put it.
British Foreign Secretary Vicky Ford said she was pleased to have Hamdok released and to continue his work as Sudan’s prime minister.
In a tweet, Ford called on the Sudanese army to abide by its pledge: in real partnership with civilians, release all political detainees, and conduct a transparent investigation into the killings and human rights violations.
[Read] Statement of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission @AUC_MoussaFaki on the political agreement reached in #Sudan on 21 November 2021 @ https://t.co/qO4xH8IfZX pic.twitter.com/9GV1dkMgZ8
— African Union (@_AfricanUnion) November 21, 2021
The Troika, which includes the United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway, has also expressed its rejection of any attempts to obstruct or disrupt the efforts of the Sudanese people to create a democratic, peaceful and prosperous future.
The troika stressed – in a statement – the need for the civilian and military components of the transitional government, and all political actors, to work together to prevent threats to the democratic transition, establish transitional institutions, and address tensions in the east and other regions, according to the statement.
She added that those who seek to undermine the civilian-led transition must understand that Sudan’s international partners stand firmly behind the people and transitional government of Sudan, according to the statement.
In turn, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urged all Sudanese parties to conduct further talks and redouble efforts to complete key transitional tasks with civilian leadership towards democracy in Sudan.
Blinken said – in a tweet – that he reiterates the call for Sudanese security forces to refrain from using excessive force against peaceful demonstrators.
It is noteworthy that demonstrations took place yesterday, Sunday, in the three cities of the Sudanese capital (Khartoum, Khartoum North and Omdurman), rejecting the political agreement, and demanding the return of civil authority and retribution for the dead.
Video clips showed protesters chanting slogans against the Prime Minister, Abdullah Hamdok, after signing the political agreement with Al-Burhan.
The Sudanese Doctors Committee said that a protester was shot dead by the army during protests in the city of Omdurman. “This brings the death toll since last October 25 to 41,” she added in a statement.