The African Union has eased pressure on Sudan’s military council to give up power, saying it will give the country’s new leaders three months to hand over to civilian authorities.

The AU had originally told Sudan’s military leaders to return the country to civilian rule in 15 days or face suspension from the regional body, after the army ousted President Omar al-Bashir in a coup on April 11. If the AU suspends Sudan it would make it more difficult for the new regime to gain international recognition and to begin discussions with multilateral institutions needed to get its wrecked economy back on track after years of sanctions.

The move by African leaders comes as a blow to protest leaders who have asked the international community to keep pressure on the military in Khartoum to move aside.