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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Top US diplomats in Sudan to try to resolve post-coup crisis


CAIRO (AP) – Two senior US diplomats were in Sudan on Wednesday to try to find a way out of the crisis that has engulfed the African country since the October military coup. Meanwhile, an Israeli delegation met with Sudan’s ruling generals to strengthen newly established ties between their countries.

The October 25 military coup reversed Sudan’s transition to democratic rule after three decades of repression and international isolation under authoritarian President Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted in a popular uprising in April 2019.

US Assistant Secretary of State Molly Fee and newly appointed US Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa David Satterfield met for the first time with pro-democracy activists from the Sudan Professionals Association, according to the US Embassy in Khartoum.

Activists have led an uprising against al-Bashir and are now a mainstay of anti-coup protests that are demanding that the transition be led by a fully civilian government. The diplomats also met with another group, the Force for a Declaration of Freedom and Change, about “their positive engagement” in UN efforts to break the deadlock, the embassy said. They are expected to meet with the ruling generals later on Wednesday.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said earlier this week that Fi and Satterfield would reiterate Washington’s call for Sudanese security forces to “end violence and respect freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”

Before arriving in Khartoum, they attended a Friends of the Sudan meeting in Saudi Arabia to rally support for UN efforts to break the deadlock in Sudan. The group includes the US, UK and other international governments and global financial institutions.

Unrest in Sudan worsened after the resignation of Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok earlier this month. Hamdok, who was ousted in an October coup but reinstated a month later under intense international pressure, resigned on January 2 after his efforts to reach a compromise failed.

The Sudanese Committee of Doctors, also part of the pro-democracy alliance, said one protester was shot dead Wednesday as security forces dismantled makeshift barricades in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman.

The barricades were part of a two-day civil disobedience campaign called for by the pro-democracy movement after Monday’s bloody crackdown when security forces opened fire on anti-coup protesters in Khartoum, killing at least seven people. The death on Wednesday raised the death toll among post-coup protesters to 72.

Also on Wednesday, an Israeli delegation met with top Sudanese military officials in Khartoum, according to a Sudanese military official and Israeli reports.

The delegation, including representatives of the Mossad intelligence agency, met with General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, leader of the coup and head of the ruling Sovereign Council, and other military officials, the Sudanese official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to reporters.

The Israeli public television channel Kan also reported on the visit and reported that the plane carrying the Israeli delegation made a brief stop at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh before heading to the Sudanese capital. Israel maintains close security ties with Egypt, the first Arab country to make peace with Israel.

Sudan normalized ties with Israel in 2020 in a series of US-brokered deals between Israel and four Arab countries. The agreement paved the way for the African nation’s reintegration into the international community after two decades of isolation under al-Bashir.

Israel remains silent about the October coup and its aftermath, indicating that it intends to maintain normalized relations with Sudan, which has previously been Israel’s main critic in the Arab world.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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