Sudanese Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the military council, waves to his supporters upon his arrival to attend a military-backed rally. Picture: AP Photo/Hussein Malla

Cairo — Sudanese officials say last week's power-sharing agreement between the military and pro-democracy protesters came after the U.S. and its Arab allies pressured both sides, amid fears a prolonged crisis could tip the country into civil war.

The agreement, which raised hopes of a democratic transition following the military overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in April, was announced days after the protesters held mass marches throughout Sudan's main cities.

But those familiar with negotiations say the main breakthrough happened at a secret meeting the day before, when diplomats from the U.S., Britain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pressed the two sides to accept proposals from the African Union and Ethiopia.

Sudanese activists and a military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, describe intense U.S. efforts to force the deal.

Associated Press