January 3, 2023 (KHARTOUM) – The Forces for Freedom and Changes (FFC) declined an Egyptian offer to host talks on the transition in Sudan including the factions of the Democratic Bloc.
Abbas Kamel, Egyptian Intelligence Chief met with leaders of the pro-democracy leaders on January 2, to discuss ways to support a process aiming to restore a civilian government in Sudan on the basis of a framework agreement struck in December.
The move was perceived in Khartoum as a bid by the Egyptian government to play a role after abstaining from joining the U.S.-initiated Quad after the October 25 coup.
“The FFC welcomed the belated interest from the sisterly Egypt which we had expected to see in the forefront of the international and regional efforts to end the coup and preserve political stability in Sudan,” told Sudan Tribune a member of the FFC delegation that met the Egyptian envoy.
The leading member further said they declined a proposal to host a meeting in Cairo gathering the signatories and the Democratic Bloc which rejects the declaration calling to maintain the 2019 constitutional declaration and refuse to review the Juba peace deal.
“However we requested the Egyptian government to join the ongoing efforts to convince the holdout groups, signatories of the peace agreement, to join the framework agreement,” stressed the FFC official.
The former Egyptian in Khartoum was the only diplomat to attend the launch of the Democratic Bloc gathering Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Sudan Liberation Movement of Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM), a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) faction led by Gaffar al-Mirghani, and some other political groups.
Nonetheless, the official underscored that the meeting was an opportunity “to set the record straight” and to explain that a democratic regime in Sudan would be good for a stable Sudan and positive for the long-standing relationship between the two countries.
The Sudanese political forces blame Egypt for supporting military regimes in Sudan. They particularly point to the June 30, 1989 coup that brought Sudanese Islamists to power.
At the time, Egypt advocated international support for the al-Bashir regime and described it as a “free officers movement”.
Since the regime change in Khartoum in April 2019, Cairo showed its support for the military coup that removed the FFC government from power.
Egypt believes that the government of former Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok was more favourable to Ethiopia and inclined to only protect its interests during the talks over the GERD filling and operation.
While Cairo sought to protect its shares of water, Khartoum demanded an agreement on the coordination with the downstream countries on the filing and the release of water from the giant dam to protect its small dams near the Ethiopian border.
On a related development, an FFC spokesman confirmed to Al-Jazeera TV that they held several meetings with JEM and SLM-MM in order to persuade them to sign the framework agreement.
However, he dismissed reports that the two sides agreed to sign a new political declaration replacing the framework agreement.