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Call for US Pres Biden to normalise relations with Sudan ‘on his watch’

February 3 - 2021 WASHINGTON / KHARTOUM
US President Joe Biden (Photo: LBJ Library / Jay Godwin)
US President Joe Biden (Photo: LBJ Library / Jay Godwin)

A group of more than 125 organisations, human rights activists, and prominent figures in Sudan and internationally have called on US President Joe Biden to appoint an ambassador to Sudan to support normalisation of relations with the US, and to appoint a Special Presidential Envoy to prioritise and support Sudan’s transition to democracy ‘on his watch’.

In an open letter to President Biden this week, signed by a number of former US Congress members and Senators, a former US Envoy to Sudan, and a former Head of the UN Mission in Sudan, also urges Biden to support transitional justice and the return of refugees and displaced people, strengthening institutions and civil society, and helping Sudan prepare for and conduct free and fair elections.

The letter calls on US President not to miss this opportunity to effect the change in Sudan that he has worked towards for decades and commit the necessary personnel and financial resources to support the people of Sudan in their determination for freedom, enduring peace, and restorative justice.

“On your watch, how will the United States champion freedom, peace, justice and democracy in Sudan? As a Senator and as Vice President, you were involved in advocating for and implementing US policy on Sudan. Now, as President, the leadership to guide Sudan policy is yours, and it comes at an extraordinary moment of opportunity, created heroically by the people of Sudan. We, the undersigned, Sudanese and human rights activists and organisations, urge you to prioritise a full-court press with regard to US engagement at this critical and historical time in Sudan,” the letter states.

There are hopes that US-Sudan relations will improve even further under the Biden administration after several developments at the end of 2020. In mid-December, the US officially announced the removal of Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST) after 30 years of sanctions.

A statement by the US State Department at the time called the removal ’a fundamental change’ in the bilateral relationship between Sudan and the United States of America towards increasing cooperation and support for the historical democratic transition in Sudan.

As previously reported by Radio Dabanga, a high-ranking delegation from United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) led by its deputy commander, Andrew Young, paid a two-day visit to Sudan for a series of meetings with military and government officials last week.

Young noted the need to further the vision for a professional Sudanese military that is accountable to the Sudanese civilian-led government and its citizens in a press release on Thursday. AFRICOM Director of Intelligence Heidi Berg also stressed the importance of ensuring military and government institutions are rooted in transparency, accountability, respect for human rights.

Also in December last year, the US Congress passed a bill reinstating Sudan’s sovereign immunity and preventing future legal procedures against the country for attacks on Americans that the ousted Al Bashir regime supported.

As part of the ‘Sudan Claims Resolution Act’, Sudan will also receive $1.1 billion of direct and indirect aid and debt-relief assistance.

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