Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

US Secretary of State welcomes Sudan agreement, calls for the release of political prisoners and the lifting of the state of emergency.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged Sudanese leaders to work quickly to get the country’s democratic transition back on track.

He called on Monday in separate phone calls with Sudan’s reinstated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, according to a spokesman, a day after the two leaders signed an agreement to end the country’s transition to civilian rule. repair.

Sudan was plunged into new political unrest last month after al-Burhan seized power in a coup. The army gathered Hamdok and members of his cabinet when the top general disbanded the country’s interim government and declared a state of emergency.

The takeover sparked mass protests, during which soldiers killed dozens of protesters, and brought a sudden halt to Sudan’s experiment with democracy, two years after a popular uprising overthrew longtime leader Omar al-Bashir.

Blinken spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that the US top diplomat had told Sudanese leaders that Hamdok’s release from house arrest and reappointment was an “important first step” and that there were still “outstanding transition tasks “is.

“To restore the public’s confidence in the transition, he called for the immediate release of all political prisoners and pressure for the immediate lifting of the state of emergency,” Price said.

Blinken also called for respect for “peaceful protests and for the security forces to refrain from using force against protesters”.

In addition, Hamdok and al-Burhan must act in a timely manner to implement the 14-point agreement signed by the two parties on November 21, including the creation of a transitional legislative council, judicial structures, electoral institutions and a constitutional convention.

Separately, Price told reporters at a news conference that the US would have to see Sudan make more progress with these conditions before Washington resumed the $ 700 million in suspended aid.

“These decisions will be based entirely on what happens in the coming hours and the coming days and the coming weeks,” he said. “We must continue to see progress, we must continue to see Sudan move back on the democratic path.”

While the international community has welcomed the agreement between Hamdok and al-Burhan, the agreement faces opposition from pro-democracy groups that have demanded full civilian rule.

These include the Forces for Freedom and Change, the civilian coalition that shared power with the military before the coup.

The FFC said its position remained “no negotiation and no partnership and no legitimacy for the pitfalls”.

Hamdok said he had agreed to the agreement to prevent more casualties, and did so despite knowing that many might disagree with the development.

He told Al Jazeera in a exclusive interview that the pact would allow him to set up a “technocratic government” made up of qualified professionals who would lead the country on a path to democracy.

That government will focus on establishing a constitutional conference and holding elections by 2023.

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