Sudan's military is reportedly still negotiating with the country's ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to reach a new power-sharing deal, amid national and international efforts to find possible solutions for the country's political crisis following the recent military coup that derailed a fragile transition to civilian rule.
Sources close to Hamdok, who requested anonymity, told Reuters on Wednesday that no agreement had been reached between him and the military leaders and talks were still going on in the capital, Khartoum, denying an earlier report by Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV that said the former premier had agreed to return to lead a government.
The sources told Reuters that Sudan's military and politicians were at odds over cabinet appointments, describing a deal as "still elusive."
Last week, Sudan's top general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan dissolved the cabinet and the ruling military-civilian sovereign council. He also declared a state of emergency and put Hamdok under an effective house arrest, while detaining other leading members of his government.
On Thursday, Burhan said he had offered Hamdok a second chance to return to power.
Hamdok demanded the release of cabinet ministers and the full reinstatement of his government as a solution to end the crisis in the country.
Meanwhile, Imad Adawi, the former chief of staff of Sudan's military, said from Cairo after being briefed on talks by senior members of the army that the country's military and politicians had edged closer to a new power-sharing agreement, adding, "They will reach a conclusion very soon."
"There are many facilitators, including Sudanese actors, South Sudan, African countries, and the UN," he said.
Although there has been progress in the talks, key differences are said to remain and an outcome is not guaranteed. Foreign diplomats say Burhan sees the involvement of Hamdok in a new administration as key to winning credibility.
Since Monday, the military has been mounting a harsh crackdown on protesters, who have been taking to the streets after Sudan's main opposition coalition called for civil disobedience and protests across the country hours after the apparent military coup.
According to medics, at least 11 people have been killed and 170 others wounded in protests since the army's power grab.
The international community has already condemned the military takeover, with the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warning that Sudan risked a return to oppression.
On Thursday, the World Bank decided to halt payments for operations in Sudan and the African Union suspended Khartoum from all its activities until civilian rule is restored in the country.
In a joint statement, the US, EU, Britain, Norway, and some other countries also stressed their continued recognition of the "prime minister and his cabinet as the constitutional leaders of the transitional government."
Burhan has denied that the army's seizure of power constitutes a coup, saying the transitional government was overthrown to avoid a civil war in the African country.
Burhan had chaired a "sovereign council" since 2019, working together with Hamdok's government under a power-sharing deal that outlined a transition after the ouster of longtime President Omar al-Bashir. That deal was strained, however, as divisions widened between the civilian and the military rulers.