President El-Sisi Meets With Sudan’s Hemeti A Day Before Power-Deal Talks Resume

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi met with the deputy head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC), General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, in Cairo ahead of resumption of power talks.

TMC has been accused of and heavily criticized for a brutal suppression of pro-democracy demonstrators which occurred in June.

Dagalo, widely known as Hemeti, is also the commander of Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF)—a feared paramilitary group accused of war crimes under previous President Omar al-Bashir.

Egypt’s government, a longtime supporter since the military coup that overthrew al-Bashir in April of this year, along with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have backed the military-ruled government through its months-long peace talks with protest leaders.

Al Jazeera reports of a power-sharing deal signed by the TMC and protest leaders on July 17 which aims at “forming a joint civilian-military ruling body which, in turn, would install civilian rule.”

Hemeti’s meeting with el-Sisi came only a day before the negotiations between both groups were set to resume. The final talks are meant to iron out remaining concerns, such as immunity for military leaders accused over recent violence against protestors.

In an assembly following the meeting with Hemeti, the Egyptian presidency stated that “[Hemeti] introduced the most recent developments on the present scenario,” and reiterated the nation’s “strategic assist” in maintaining “the soundness and safety” of its neighbour, Sudan.

The April 11 coup occurred after months of protests following a significant increase of the price of bread, which transformed into a challenge to al-Bashir’s three-decade autocratic rule. Following the military-led government installed after al-Bashir’s deposal, protestors demanded a transition to civilian rule.

However, many of their demands were met with violence.

At least 127 demonstrators were killed and hundreds injured according to opposition medics during a raid on a sit-in on June 3 in the capital, Khartoum. According to doctors associated with the movement, this inhumane attack became a rallying point in the Sudanese struggle for democracy.

“A joint probe by prosecutors and the TMC…said that security forces, including an RSF general, took part in the raid on the protest camp outside the military headquarters…despite having no order from their superiors to do so,” according to Al Jazeera.

Hemeti’s insistent denial of his men’s involvement in the crackdown has generated international outrage.

Demonstrations following the joint probe have resulted in more brutality.

Last week Sudanese police fired tear gas at protestors calling for an independent probe into the June raid. Additionally, the doctors committee involved in the protest movement stated that five protesters were shot dead and several others were wounded at a rally in central Sudan last Monday.

An independent probe is important to hold the security forces responsible for the June raid and subsequent crackdowns accountable. The RSF has previously been accused of war crimes under Hemeti and having him as the TMC’s de facto leader prevents a legitimate investigation into occurring as to how such a violent suppression of demonstrators occurred.

It is evident that the long-awaited power-sharing deal is the first step for Sudan’s transition from its state of turmoil into a democratic country with an elected civilian government. The agreement will allow for elections to be organized over a period of three years as the country shifts from military rule to elected civilian leadership.

Former U.K. ambassador to Sudan said, regarding the deal, that it is “a significant step forward but there is no room for complacency. Controlling the Rapid Support Forces, dismantling the deep state, and stabilizing the economy are still huge challenges.”

With the Sudanese people’s devotion to democracy and the betterment of their nation there is no doubt that opposition leaders will continue to tackle upcoming challenges with a continued fervent commitment.