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story.lead_photo.caption A Sudanese woman celebrates in the streets of Khartoum after ruling generals and protest leaders announced they have reached an agreement on the disputed issue of a new governing body on Friday, July 5, 2019. The deal raised hopes it will end a three-month political crisis that paralyzed the country and led to a violent crackdown that killed scores of protesters. (AP Photo)

KHARTOUM, Sudan -- Sudan's ruling military council and its pro-democracy movement both welcomed a new power-sharing agreement reached Friday, raising hopes that the deal would end a three-month political crisis that has paralyzed the country and led to scores of deaths following a violent crackdown on peaceful protesters by authorities.

News of the deal, which one analyst said followed regional and international pressure on both sides, touched off street celebrations in the capital of Khartoum with hundreds dancing and waving Sudan's flag as drivers honked their horns. The crisis has gripped Sudan ever since the military ousted longtime autocrat Omar el-Bashir in April.

The sides agreed to form a joint military and civilian sovereign council to lead the country during a transition period of three years and three months, said a statement by the Sudanese Professionals' Association, which has spearheaded the protests. The joint council had been a sticking point in the negotiations.

The council will include five civilians representing the protest movement and five military members. An 11th seat will go to a civilian chosen by both sides. A military member will preside over the council for the first 21 months, followed by a civilian member after that, according to the statement.

That suggested a significant concession by pro-democracy forces, which had insisted that the sovereign council have only a civilian president. But the deal also secured a key demand by protest leaders: that they select the members of a technocratic Cabinet to be formed independently from the generals.

The creation of a legislative council will be postponed for three months, during which time the sovereign council will make the nation's laws.

The generals also hailed the deal, with the military-controlled Al-Sudan TV channel playing national songs and rerunning excerpts of the news conference by both sides announcing the agreement, with the caption: "Congratulations to the Sudanese people."

The talks had collapsed when security forces razed a protest camp outside the military headquarters in Khartoum on June 3, and protest leaders said more than 100 people have been killed since then. In the ensuing weeks, protesters stayed in the streets, demanding that the generals hand power to civilian leadership.

International on 07/06/2019

Print Headline: Both sides in Sudan political crisis hail new power-sharing agreement

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