Written by Staff Writer, CNN London
Juba, South Sudan (CNN) — Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir’s military chief said Thursday that he and the man who sacked Sudan’s prime minister have agreed on a deal to restore the political system to its status quo before the civil war in his country began.
Lieutenant General Ahmed Haroun, the former national intelligence chief who was deposed by Salva Kiir in December, told CNN’s Richard Quest in Sudan that the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) should be allowed to bring the “political parties back together” before elections, possibly to be held in 2020.
Under a deal brokered by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Bashir’s government and the southern rebels have agreed to hold “free and fair” elections in early 2020, Bashir himself is expected to step down within two years and the government is set to be dissolved and replaced by a transitional government.
He said his comments were influenced by the agreement reached in January by the opposition parties to appoint Bashir and five of his inner circle to transitional civilian government and to announce two sessions of elections in May and September.
Haroun believes the political process could be finished within a few months.
“Yes, of course,” Haroun said when asked if the agreement on elections could be completed in a few months. “That is what I saw. I don’t need a lot of more time. We have a minimum of 4 to 5 months to go, most likely.”
Haroun said that if the agreement reached by the opposition was to be implemented it would be enough to end the conflict in Sudan’s southern regions.
“Yes, it will end the war in the south,” he said. “Without this agreement, there will be no conflict in the south. Without this agreement, there will be no solution for the south. So this is basically what this agreement is about.”
He said the opposition groups had seen “what has been achieved” with the elections.
“When you are making this big step like this, it is difficult. I don’t want to say that it is easy. It is not easy. We need to consolidate this we need to review this we need to do this and that.”
Sudan president Bashir’s whereabouts unclear
It was reported Tuesday that Bashir is in hospital in South Africa but no reason was given for his hospitalization.
Southern Sudan’s chief mediator told CNN that he had spoken to Bashir to confirm reports of the president’s illness and to try to secure the president’s release.
Bashir has been the subject of warrants issued by the International Criminal Court over atrocities committed in Sudan’s Darfur region in 2003 and 2004.