Sudan’s interim Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok announces his cabinet at an evening news conference in Khartoum on September 5. (Ebrahim Hamid/AFP/Getty Images)

Sudan: Cautious Optimism Surrounding the Political Transition

Al-Arab, London, September 7

The process of transition in Sudan began with an announcement of the formation of the new government after nine months of painstaking negotiations that began last December. Despite the horror of the June 3 confrontations that took place in front of the military headquarters [in Khartoum], and despite the difficulty of building trust between the army and civilians, the parties of the Sudanese national dialogue managed to reach an agreement about a transition process that will last 39 months. This is an achievement in itself and a remarkable milestone in the history of the country. However, the magnitude of the challenges facing the transition team in preparation for civilian rule requires careful follow-up to ensure that the young men and women of Sudan do not return to the streets. “We are launching a new phase in the history of our country,” Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok declared when he announced his new government on September 5. Hamdok’s task is now to maintain the fragile peace agreement and begin rebuilding Sudan’s crippled economy. However, the most important thing undoubtedly remains the integrity of the institutions that have been set up temporarily, as well as meeting the milestones agreed upon by the military leaders and the leaders of the opposition. Since last April, relations between the two sides have ranged from skepticism to insistence on failure. It was not easy to reach common ground, but Ethiopia and the African Union played a pivotal role in bringing the sides closer and concluding a deal. Thus, there are many difficulties that the opposition forces will encounter. Learning from their mistakes in the past, they have called for a long transition process that will allow them to rid Sudan of the influence of the former regime and offset the influence of the military leadership. There is reason for cautious optimism in Sudan following months of violence and bloodshed. With improved political stability and economic reforms, Sudan can easily attract foreign investments that would help it grow its economy and offer a better future for its younger generations. If this effort succeeds, it will be truly remarkable. It will prove to us all that, truly, nothing is impossible under the sun. – Khattar Abou Diab (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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