What Happened: Sudan's ruling Transitional Military Council rejected an offer for mediation by Ethiopia with the Sudanese opposition, a council spokesperson said June 23, Yeni Safak reported June 24. According to AP, the mediation would have involved a search for a compromise between military and civilian negotiators on the issue of leadership of a new sovereign council that would govern Sudan. The military would have led the sovereign council for its first 18 months, and the civilian opposition would have led it for the next 18 months — totaling the three-year transitional process the government and opposition have already agreed upon. The mediation would also have sought to settle the disagreement over who should hold the majority in the council by proposing seven seats for each side, with an additional 15th seat being reserved for a civilian selected jointly by the Transitional Military Council and the opposition. While the civilian opposition agreed to the 7-7-1 proposal June 22, the military council rejected it as an attempt to impose a specific proposal without prior consultation.
Why It Matters: The latest developments in the Sudanese transition show the military council is standing its ground. So far, it has consistently rejected any scenario in which it does not directly control the envisioned sovereign council that would lead the country during its transition process. For the civilian opposition and many outside interested countries, this is unacceptable, meaning the issue will continue to deadlock any efforts to bridge the opposition-government divide.
Background: Since a crackdown on protests June 3 in Khartoum, no direct negotiations have occurred between the Transitional Military Council and civilian opposition groups. Each side has issued conditions for talks to resume, with the military conditions being a dismissal of the civilian conditions. Ethiopian and African Union efforts to provide mediation have continued, but have yet to yield any signs of progress.