The Sudanese military reinstated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and promised to release all political detainees after weeks of deadly unrest triggered by a coup, although large crowds took to the streets to reject any deal involving the army.
A source close to Hamdok said he had agreed to the deal to stop the bloodshed; however, the civilian coalition that shared power with the military previously said it opposed any talks with the "putschists" and called for protests to continue on Sunday.
Hamdok said on Sunday the political deal he signed with the military grants him complete freedom in forming a government of technocrats, Al Jazeera TV reported.
"We agreed to hold elections before July 2023," Al Jazeera quoted him as saying.
Hamdok was placed under house arrest when the military seized power on Oct. 25, derailing a transition towards democracy agreed after the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir in 2019 that ended his three decades of autocratic rule.
The military dissolved Hamdok's cabinet and detained a number of civilians who held top positions under the power-sharing deal agreed with the military after al-Bashir was ousted.
Under the new agreement between the military and civilian political parties, Hamdok will form an independent cabinet of technocrats, said Fadlallah Burma Nasir, head of the Umma Party who attended the talks that led to the deal.
Hamdok is on board with the agreement to stop the bloodshed following protests against the coup, said a source close to the ousted prime minister, who could not immediately be reached for comment.
The coup triggered mass demonstrations against the military, and medics aligned with the protest movement say security forces have killed 40 civilians in increasingly violent crackdowns.
The constitutional declaration struck between the military and civilians in 2019 after al-Bashir was ousted would remain the foundation in further talks, the source close to Hamdok said.
Sudan's Sovereign Council will hold an urgent meeting on Sunday before announcing the agreement, a source with knowledge of the talks said.
The media adviser of military leader Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan could not immediately be reached for comment.
Activist groups leading the protests since the coup have demanded that the military gets out of politics altogether, however.
A statement on Sunday on the Facebook page of the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) civilian coalition that had been sharing power with the military said it did not recognize any agreement with the armed forces.
"We affirm our clear and previously announced position: no negotiation and no partnership and no legitimacy for the putschists," the FFC statement said.
Those who carried out and backed the coup should face justice, the statement said, calling on people to turn out for the latest round of anti-military protests on Sunday.
Following the coup, Hamdok had demanded the release of all political detainees and a return to power-sharing as a precondition for negotiating, according to sources close to him.
Western powers that had backed Sudan's political transition condemned the takeover and suspended some economic assistance to Sudan.