Factbox-What is happening in Sudan?

Brian Burns / December 03,2022

(Reuters) - Sudan's military leaders and a coalition of civilian parties signed a framework deal on Monday that could launch a new political transition in the country.Here is some background to the events.WHO HAS BEEN IN CHARGE IN SUDAN?Sudan began a transition to democracy after a popular uprising and the ouster in April 2019 of President Omar al-Bashir, an Islamist shunned by the West who had presided over the country for nearly three decades.Under an August 2019 agreement, the military agreed to share power with officials appointed by civilian political groups ahead of elections. But that arrangement was abruptly halted by a military coup in October 2021, which triggered a campaign of frequent pro-democracy mass rallies across Sudan.WHERE DOES THE BALANCE OF POWER LIE?The military has been a dominant force in Sudan since independence in 1956, waging protracted internal wars, staging repeated coups, and amassing extensive economic holdings.During the transition that began with Bashir's ouster and ended with the 2021 coup, distrust between the military and civilian parties ran deep.The civilian side has drawn on backing from a resilient protest movement and parts of the international community, though key regional powers have close ties to Sudan's military leadership.Some former rebel factions aligned themselves with the military, while veterans of Bashir's regime returned to the civil service following the coup.WHAT ARE THE DISAGREEMENTS OVER?One point of tension is the pursuit of justice over allegations of war crimes by the military and its allies in the conflict in Darfur from 2003. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is seeking trials for Bashir and other Sudanese suspects.Another is an investigation into the killings of pro-democracy protesters on June 3, 2019, in which military forces are implicated. Activists and civilian groups have been angered by delays in making the investigation's findings public. They have also demanded justice over more than 100 people killed by security forces in protests since the coup.In addition, civilians have pushed for oversight and restructuring of the military, particularly through the integration of the powerful, paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, which military leaders have resisted. Civilians have also demanded the handover of lucrative military holdings in agriculture, trade, and other civilian industries.WHAT ABOUT THE ECONOMY?A worsening economic crisis that sent the currency plunging and created frequent shortages of bread and fuel which were the trigger for Bashir's downfall.The transitional government implemented harsh, rapid reforms monitored by the International Monetary Fund in a successful bid for debt relief and to attract foreign financing.But billions of dollars in international support and debt relief were frozen after the 2021 coup, contributing to economic stagnation and a worsening humanitarian situation.HOW ARE RELATIONS WITH THE NEIGHBOURS?Sudan is in a volatile region, bordering the Red Sea, the Sahel, and the Horn of Africa. Several of its neighbours, including Ethiopia, Chad and South Sudan have been affected by political upheavals and conflict.From late 2020, conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region pushed tens of thousands of refugees into eastern Sudan and caused military tensions in disputed agricultural lands along the border.Sudan has lobbied, with Egypt, for a binding deal over the operation of a giant hydropower dam that Ethiopia is building near the Sudanese border. Talks stalled and Ethiopia started filling the reservoir behind the dam, which Sudan says could put its citizens, dams and water facilities at risk.