Sudan military rulers, protesters to meet in joint panel
KHARTOUM - A joint committee representing Sudan's military leadership and protesters is to hold its first meeting on Saturday to discuss their demand for civilian rule, the leading protest group said.
Protest leaders have held several rounds of so far inconclusive talks with the ruling military council since the army toppled veteran president Omar al-Bashir on April 11 following four months of nationwide protests.
Earlier this week, the two sides agreed to set up a joint committee to chart the way forward.
The Alliance for Freedom and Change, which brings together grassroots organisers with opposition and rebel groups, has kept up mass protests for a return to civilian rule since Bashir's overthrow after three decades in power.
"The joint committee with the transitional military council will hold its first meeting today, Saturday," the AFC said in a statement.
It gave no details of who would represent it on the panel or how long it expected the meetings to last.
The military council has so far refused to step down, insisting that it has assumed power for a two-year transitional period.
But on Friday, it said it was in "continuous communication" with the protest movement and was waiting for it to choose delegates to the new joint panel.
The protesters have kept up the pressure on the military, continuing their round-the-clock sit-in outside army headquarters and mobilising tens of thousands on Thursday for a "million-strong" march for civilian rule.
Western governments have expressed support, but Sudan's key Gulf Arab lenders have backed the military council, while African states have called for more time for the army to hand over to civilians.