Sudan’s military chief signed deal to return Machar to prime minister post

Written by Staff Writer by Amani Hughes, CNN Sudan’s military chief and dismissed President Salva Kiir have signed a deal with South Sudan’s opposition to reinstate the country’s deposed prime minister, Khartoum state media…

Sudan's military chief signed deal to return Machar to prime minister post

Written by Staff Writer by Amani Hughes, CNN

Sudan’s military chief and dismissed President Salva Kiir have signed a deal with South Sudan’s opposition to reinstate the country’s deposed prime minister, Khartoum state media reported.

In a statement broadcast on Sudan TV on Saturday, Khartoum state governor Mohamed Salem said the signatories to the deal also agreed to free dozens of political prisoners.

The Sudanese Media Center cited Moussa Ahmed Turabi, who was once the most powerful figure in Sudanese politics, as stating that he had played an “instrumental role” in negotiating the agreement.

“Our work is a continuation of an earlier agreement which saw an end to war in Darfur and the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement,” said Turabi.

The deal comes after Kiir fired his once-eulogized prime minister, Riek Machar, in July without giving a reason. It has been pointed out that Kiir needs the support of Machar’s political faction to maintain power.

“We have no other agenda than working for the welfare of the Sudanese people and the development of the country,” said Turabi.

“The sacrifices that the Sudanese people have made over the past decades have the right to be recognized by all and by the flag bearers of the Sudanese people. There is a constitutional framework for executive intervention in conflict and agreement at the national level.”

The military chief was also accused of involvement in suppressing demonstrations in the West Nile state in July 2018 that included accusations of rampant rapes and other forms of intimidation.

After his sacking from the Sudanese cabinet in 2012, Machar vowed to work with Khartoum to bring about peace.

On Saturday, other politicians, including several top party officials who are suspended from their positions by the Sudanese parliament, joined the agreements and pledged to support Khartoum in its quest for peace.

The deal reportedly resulted from weekend meetings between all key leaders in Khartoum.

“The national dialogue … has succeeded in producing an agreement that takes into account the interests of the country and the Sudanese people,” said Sudan State’s public security minister, Osman el-Hamdan Mohamed.

Sudan’s last major political agreement was in 2015. Under that deal, civil society groups, rebel groups and government officials agreed to form a multi-party national transitional government with a focus on governance reforms.

According to a report published by the South Sudan Resource Center for Peace and Democracy, the 2015 interim government headed by Taban Deng Gai, suspended in 2017, had made considerable progress in re-energizing the process of national reconciliation and peace negotiations. However, continuing violence and major defections from government ranks undermined progress.

Sudan and South Sudan came close to a full-blown war in April 2015, just a month after the fragile peace deal was signed, when two groups of army soldiers in the South Sudanese capital Juba, led by a former general known as Riek Machar, clashed. The conflict and ensuing famine killed hundreds of thousands of people, the country is still emerging from a five-year war.

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