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Sudan: Govt, Darfur Rebels Agree On Extension of Sovereign Council

Juba / Khartoum — The Sudanese government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance have reached an agreement about an outstanding issue in the Darfur file. Four seats will be added to Sudan’s Sovereign Council in favour of “the Darfur peace bloc”.

On Thursday, Mohamed El Taayshi, Member of Sudan’s Sovereign Council and spokesman for the government during the peace negotiations in the South Sudanese capital of Juba, announced that four new seats will be added to the Sovereign Council in favour of the Darfur armed movements.

He told reporters in Juba that the Darfur track team of the SRF will respond on Sunday concerning participation in the Council of Ministers and the Legislative Council. If the two parties reach an understanding on this point, the power-sharing file can be concluded.

The two sides have come close to reaching an agreement on the amount to be allocated for the peace process in Darfur. They have already reached agreements on the establishment of the Darfur Peace Support and Sustainable Development Fund that will be responsible for financing all peace operations related to the displaced, refugees, lands, reconstruction and development, a Special Court for Darfur, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and other mechanisms.

Outstanding issues

The South Sudanese mediation team stated that Sunday will be a crucial day regarding the outstanding items of the Darfur track. The issue of the security arrangements is still to be negotiated.

Member of the mediation team Dieu Mathok said in the press conference in Juba that the session on Thursday discussed two important issues related to Article 21 of the Constitutional Charter which stipulates that members of the current government will not participate in the general elections after the three-year transitional period.

The Darfur rebel leaders demand to be excluded from this arrangement. The matter has been discussed “for a long time” and no agreement has been reached. According to the mediators, the issue needs “consultations at the highest level” with the chairman of the Sovereign Council or the Prime Minister.

Another disputed item concerns the date of the start of the transitional period. According to the Constitutional Document that was signed by the leaders of Transitional Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change on August 17 last year, the transitional period of 39 months would start that day. Yet, the Darfur rebel leaders demand the transitional period to begin on the date of signing the final peace agreement.