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Sudan Skeptical About al-Burhan Handover


FILE: Sudan's General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, answers questions during an interview. Taken Sept. 22, 2022, in New York

The signing of an initial deal by Sudan's military regime and civilians has been widely hailed by the international community, but many at home eye it with deep skepticism.

On Monday, senior military figures and civilian groups agreed an accord laying the groundwork for re-establishing a civilian authority -- a move welcomed by the United Nations, Washington, London, Brussels, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, among others.

But Sudanese analysts, a senior cabinet minister and a regional governor caution that the deal risks being over-hyped.

Kholood Khair, founder of the Confluence Advisory, a Khartoum-based think-tank, notes that the agreement improves the international community's perception of Burhan.

But "it works out less well for the civilians ... who will have to do the hard work and sell it to the public."

And "it does not inspire confidence that it will lead to the kind of reforms that people want to see."

The deal "is contingent on... public trust in the agreement and the protagonists," Khair said.

"And frankly that doesn't exist," she added.

"It's merely a symbolic move that should be developed further to a more concrete deal," said Sudanese analyst Othman Mirghani.

Otherwise, "it would be a meaningless step."

Signatories to the deal have pledged to hammer out the details of transitional justice, accountability and security reform "within weeks".

Mirghani says such complex issues could instead take months to thrash out.

The deal was met by strong opposition from key ex-rebel leaders who two years ago signed a peace deal hammered out with the short-lived transition government.

Discussions over implementation of the 2020 peace deal have been slated for phase two of Monday's agreement.

Ex-rebel leader Mini Minnawi, who is also governor of the restive Darfur region, slammed the agreement as "exclusionary."

Finance minister and ex-rebel Gibril Ibrahim said it was "far from a national accord and does not lead to free and fair elections."

"It will be hard to proceed with a comprehensive deal without agreeing with armed groups, most notably those of Ibrahim and Minnawi's," said the analyst Mirghani.
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