Arab leaders agree joint military force

1 / 2
2 / 2
Updated 30 March 2015
0

Arab leaders agree joint military force

SHARM EL SHEIKH: Arab leaders have agreed to form a joint military force after a summit dominated by a Saudi-led offensive on Houthis in Yemen and the threat from extremism. Arab representatives will meet over the next month to study the creation of the force and present their findings to defense ministers within four months, according to the resolution adopted by the leaders. “Assuming the great responsibility imposed by the great challenges facing our Arab nation and threatening its capabilities, the Arab leaders had decided to agree on the principle of a joint Arab military force,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi told the summit in the resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh. The decision was mostly aimed at fighting IS extremists who have overrun swathes of Iraq and Syria and secured a foothold in Libya, Arab League chief Nabil Al-Arabi said ahead of the summit. On Sunday, Al-Arabi told the meeting the region was threatened by a “destructive” force that threatened “ethnic and religious diversity,” in an apparent reference to the Islamic State group. “What is important is that today there is an important decision, in light of the tumult afflicting the Arab world,” he said. Egypt had pushed for the creation of the rapid response force to fight militants, and the matter gained urgency this week after Saudi Arabia and Arab allies launched air strikes on Houthi militants in Yemen. Al-Arabi, reading a statement at the conclusion of the summit, said on Sunday the offensive would continue until the Houthis withdraw from regions they have overrun and surrender their weapons. Several Arab states including Egypt are taking part in the military campaign, which Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman said would continue until the Yemeni people “enjoy security.”


Sudan’s military council, opposition coalition agree political accord

Updated 17 July 2019
0

Sudan’s military council, opposition coalition agree political accord

  • The constitutional declaration is expected to be signed on Friday
  • The deal aims to help the political transition in Sudan

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s ruling military council and an opposition alliance signed a political accord on Wednesday as part of a power-sharing deal aimed at leading the country to democracy following three decades of autocratic rule.

The agreement, which ended days of speculation about whether a deal announced earlier this month would hold, was initialed in Khartoum in the presence of African mediators following a night of talks to iron out some details of the agreement.

Sudan’s stability is crucial for the security of a volatile region stretching from the Horn of Africa to Libya that is riven by conflict and power struggles.

The deal is meant to pave the way to a political transition after military leaders ousted former President Omar Al-Bashir in April following weeks of protests against his rule.

At least 128 people were killed during a crackdown that began when security forces dispersed a protest camp outside the Defense Ministry in central Khartoum in June, according to medics linked to the opposition. The Health Ministry had put the death toll at 61.

A political standoff between Sudan’s military rulers and protesters threatened to drag the country of 40 million toward further violence before African mediators managed to bridge the gap between the two sides.

General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council, hailed the agreement as the start of a new partnership between the armed forces, including the paramilitary forces he leads, and the opposition coalition of Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC).

Ibrahim Al-Amin, an FFC leader, said the accord signaled a new era of self-reliance for Sudan’s people.

“We want a stable homeland, because we have suffered a great deal,” Amin said in a speech after the ceremony.

Ethiopian mediator Mahmud Dirir said Sudan, long under international isolation over the policies of Bashir’s Islamist administration, needed to overcome poverty and called for the country to be taken of a US list of states that support terrorism.

The sides are still working on a constitutional declaration, which is expected to be signed on Friday.

Power-sharing deal

Under the power-sharing deal reached earlier this month, the two sides agreed to share power in a sovereign council during a transitional period of just over three years.

They also agreed to form an independent government of technocrats to run the country and to launch a transparent, independent investigation into the violence.

The power-sharing agreement reached earlier this month called for a sovereign council comprised of 11 members — five officers selected by the military council, five civilians chosen by the FFC and another civilian to be agreed upon by both sides.

The constitutional declaration will now decide the duties and responsibilities of the sovereign council.

The military was to head the council during the first 21 months of the transitional period while a civilian would head the council during the remaining 18 months.

But the agreement was thrown into doubt when new disputes surfaced last week over the military council’s demand for immunity for council members against prosecution.

The military council also demanded that the sovereign council would retain ultimate decision-making powers rather than the government.