SA Secretary Blinken: ‘Civilians must define Sudan’s path forward’
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, has encouraged the warring Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to abide by the seven-day humanitarian ceasefire that took effect last night. In a video message to the people of Sudan, he highlighted that Sudan’s civilian population must define the way forward.
The USA is a co-broker with Saudi Arabia of the Jeddah talks that led to the short-term ceasefire agreement on Saturday. In light of frequent violations of previous truces by both sides, Blinken reminds parties that the agreement includes monitoring by a remote US-Saudi-international monitoring mechanism. “If the ceasefire is violated, we’ll know. And we will hold violators accountable through our sanctions and other tools at our disposal,” Blinken warned.
In his video message on onday , Secretary Blinken notes that “the violence committed by the SAF and RSF over the past month has been tragic, senseless, and devastating. The whole world has been united in calling for an end to this conflict and insisting on a negotiated solution.
‘If the ceasefire is violated, we’ll know. And we will hold violators accountable…’
He explains that the seven-day ceasefire is designed to allow for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and repair of essential services and infrastructure. Blinken highlights that the agreement by the SAF and the RSF to this short-term ceasefire was the result of intensive diplomacy and the close partnership of USA and Saudi Arabia.
“We facilitated this ceasefire but it’s the responsibility of the SAF and RSF to implement it,” he says. “The Jeddah talks have had a narrow focus – ending violence and bringing assistance to the Sudanese people. A permanent resolution of this conflict will require much more.”
‘Sudan’s civilians must be the ones to define Sudan’s path going forward…’
Addressing the Sudanese public directly, Blinken emphasises: “I want to be clear that Sudan’s civilians must be the ones to define Sudan’s path going forward. You should lead a political process to restore Sudan’s democratic transition and form a civilian government.
‘Your military should withdraw from governance and focus on defending the nation from external threats…’
“Sudan’s political future belongs to you, the people of your great nation. Your military should withdraw from governance and focus on defending the nation from external threats. The USA supports a democratic government that represents the full diversity of the Sudanese people, including populations from the periphery who have long been marginalised and women whose voices have long been ignored.
“Only a civilian government can succeed in delivering stability and security, and fulfilling your aspirations for freedom, for peace, for justice. We have always been a partner to the people of Sudan as you bravely resisted military dictatorship and demanded civilian rule and you can count on us to remain by your side until you achieve this goal,” Blinken’s message concludes.
$245 million US aid
In a separate statement from Washington today, the US Dept of State says that last week, the USA announced $245 million in humanitarian assistance to Sudan and neighbouring countries countries experiencing the impacts of the ongoing humanitarian crisis. These funds include nearly $143 million from the Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugee and Migration and $103 million in additional humanitarian assistance from the US Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.
“With this funding, our humanitarian partners can respond to the new needs arising from the current conflict, which has displaced approximately 840,000 people within the country and forced another 250,000 to flee since April 15,” the US State Dept says.
According to the statement, this announcement brings total US humanitarian assistance for Sudan and neighbours Chad, Egypt, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic to nearly $880 million in the 2023 financial year.
On May 2, US President Joe Biden called the violence in Sudan a ‘tragedy’, and signed an executive order paving the way for the USA to impose sanctions on “certain persons destabilising Sudan and undermining the goal of democratic transition”. The order extends existing sanctions but does not impose any specific additional sanctions at this time.
In a statement following the signing, Biden called the current conflict in Sudan “a betrayal of the Sudanese people’s clear demand for civilian government and a transition to democracy.”
Biden’s order expands the scope of the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13067 of November 3, 1997 (blocking Sudanese government property and prohibiting transactions with Sudan), and expanded by Executive Order 13400 of April 26, 2006 (blocking property of persons in connection with the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region), finding that “the situation in Sudan, including the military’s seizure of power in October 2021 and the outbreak of inter-service fighting in April 2023, constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the USA.”