Washington is waving “several options” to restore civilian rule in Sudan

Washington is waving “several options” to restore civilian rule in Sudan
Washington is waving “several options” to restore civilian rule in Sudan

Blinken calls Hamdok… the World Bank stops its payments and the African Union suspends membership

The administration of US President Joe Biden did not make any effort to express its anger at the overthrow of the civilian government in Sudan, headed by Abdullah Hamdok, as American officials at all levels took exceptional diplomatic, financial and economic steps to pressure the armed forces led by Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, in order to restore Governance to civilians and commitment to the commitments contained in the Constitutional Document and the Juba Peace Agreement.

I went on to threaten “multiple options”, in order to support the Sudanese people and their path towards democracy. This American effort was first evident in the expression of the US special envoy to the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, who was in Khartoum until the eve of the military coup, expressing his strong anger at the military takeover of power. He had obtained promises from Al-Burhan to continue transferring power to civilians, during talks he held in Khartoum in a joint meeting with Hamdok, Al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as “Hemedti”, in the context of US mediation to overcome the difficulties facing the political transition process, and on The growing differences between the civilian and military leaders in the country.

However, Washington’s anger was not limited to Feltman, who did not see any indication of a major change that the army leadership is preparing to overthrow Hamdok; Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken made extensive contacts internationally and in the Arab world in order to take a unified position opposing the military takeover of power in Khartoum, and calling for the release of all detainees, first of whom was Hamdok, and for the transition process to be returned to the line drawn for it by the Sudanese leaders, but with international support.

– The World Bank

For its part, the World Bank suspended payments to Sudan in the wake of the military coup that toppled the transitional government in the country. “I am deeply concerned about the recent events in Sudan, and I fear the significant impact this could have on the country’s development and socio-economic recovery,” said World Bank President David Malpass.

The Biden administration’s announcement of suspending US aid, amounting to $700 million, was just a signal to the rest of the countries and international financial institutions to participate in putting pressure on the Sudanese military establishment and the proof itself. This led to many European countries and institutions declaring their readiness to take steps similar to the American step, before it came to leaks from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund stating that there was “a tendency to suspend financial and economic aid to Sudan if the transitional process for civilians was not adhered to.”

The current US administration has been following with interest the efforts that began during the era of former President Donald Trump, which led to the removal of Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, after agreeing to compensate the families of the victims of the USS Cole bombing and the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

However, the other effort was directed towards contacts at the international and Arab levels to participate in the American pressures that led to Hamdok’s return to his home. After the impact, Blinken made a phone call to him to welcome his release, stressing in a statement that Washington was “concerned” about the detainees and was seeking to “ensure their safety, and release them all.” And he expressed his “deep concern over the continued seizure of power by the army,” reiterating his call to the military forces to “exercise restraint and avoid violence in responding to the demonstrators.” He stressed “the United States’ support for a civilian-led transition to democracy in Sudan, and for a return to the principles of the transitional framework, as stipulated in the 2019 Constitutional Declaration and the Juba Peace Agreement of 2020,” noting “the increasing international voices condemning the military (takeover) on judgment.”

Blinken reflected this American trend in a call he made with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdulaziz. US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that the call focused on this situation and its “impact on the stability of Sudan and the region”, reiterating support for the aspirations of the Sudanese people for democracy, and stressing the need for the immediate return of the transitional government, led by civilians in Sudan. He added: “The two parties condemned the military takeover of power, and discussed the importance of all parties’ commitment to the framework stipulated in the Constitutional Declaration and the Juba Peace Agreement, and that failure to do so would jeopardize international support for Sudan.”

Troika and the African Union

The American move included a joint statement issued by the “troika” countries concerned with the Sudan file, namely the United States, Britain and Norway, condemning what happened, and calling for the immediate release of the detainees and the return of civilian rule. However, the most prominent American move came through the Security Council, which held an emergency consultation session, the day before yesterday. (Tuesday), at the request of six countries, namely the United States, Britain, France, Ireland, Norway and Estonia, with the support of the three African countries in the Council, Kenya, Niger and Tunisia, during which he heard a briefing from the United Nations Special Envoy Volker Perthes. The members of the Council were unable to agree immediately on a draft statement condemning the military takeover of power, and calling for the release of Hamdok and other detainees in the army, leading to the restoration of rule to the transitional government, in preparation for holding elections that will result in the formation of a government that is agreed upon and has legitimate authority.

Diplomats attributed this failure to objections from Russia, which “rejects foreign interference in Sudan’s internal affairs,” and also refuses to call what happened in Sudan a military coup. But they pointed out the absence of the majority of permanent delegates who were on a trip to the Security Council to Africa, including the American delegate, Linda Thomas Greenfield, the French, Nicolas de Riviere, and others.

They all returned to New York yesterday (Wednesday), and were scheduled to discuss the Sudanese situation at the highest levels in a closed session outside their daily agenda.

For its part, the African Union announced yesterday (Wednesday) that it had suspended Sudan’s membership in the 55-nation union after the measures taken by the Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces, Abdel Fattah Burhan, which included the dissolution of the Sovereignty Councils and the Council of Ministers, and the imposition of a state of emergency.

And the statement of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union stated that the suspension decision “(immediately activated), and prohibits Sudan from all activities of the Union, until the effective restoration of the transitional authority led by civilians.”

The Council called on the African Union President to “immediately send his envoy to Sudan for dialogue with the Sudanese parties on the necessary steps necessary to expedite the restoration of constitutional order in Sudan.”

– international bodies

US State Department spokesman Ned Price considered that the “anti-democratic” measures taken by the Sudanese army “undermined the constitutional declaration of 2019”, as well as the “democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people,” stressing his country’s agreement with countries and organizations from all over the world in expressing concern, He enumerated those parties such as the African Union, the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and other countries such as France, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the neighboring countries of Sudan as well.

He said during his press conference that Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan also called for a halt to escalation and dialogue in Sudan, and for the “immediate” release of all detained politicians.

In response to a question from Asharq Al-Awsat, Price explained that the aid that was suspended “temporarily” amounts to 700 million dollars and is linked to support for emergency economic funds, while other humanitarian aid has not stopped. He said, “The United States provided $60 million during the fiscal year that ended at the end of last month, in bilateral health and development assistance, focused on supporting democracy, human rights, security, civic engagement, conflict mitigation, and global health assistance.”

In addition, we provided $438 million in life-saving humanitarian aid to Sudan in the last fiscal year, and all life-saving humanitarian aid is not subject to the current suspension of assistance. All of this aid is in line with the restrictions in place, including those that have been imposed on Sudan, since the military coup in 1989, when the former Bashir regime came to power. He accused the Sudanese army of “hijacking the democratic transition,” adding that the seizure of power was “unacceptable.”

Asharq Al-Awsat learned from an American source that Washington is still studying its options regarding the situation in Sudan, stressing that “the option of sanctions may be on the table in the coming days, if the crisis is not resolved.” He explained that the intended sanctions may affect people closely linked to the “control” in the Sudanese military establishment or outside it.

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