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US and Norway urge Sudan’s coup leaders to recommit to civilian-led democratic transition

December 19 - 2021 WASHINGTON / OSLO
US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken (Photo: US Govt.)
US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken (Photo: US Govt.)

US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, has urged Sudan’s political and military leaders to respond to the aspirations of the Sudanese people for a democratic Sudan, by putting the interests of the country above their own and recommitting to civilian-led democratic transition. In a similar statement yesterday, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anniken Huitfeldt, echoed the call to return to civilian-led transition, and urges the military to rebuild confidence by reversing unilateral actions and appointments made after the coup.

In a press statement to mark the third anniversary of the revolution that overthrew the 30-year Al Bashir dictatorship in 2019, Blinken says that the bravery and sacrifice of those who lost their lives during and since the revolution will forever remain an inspiration to all those seeking democracy.

“Three years ago, Sudan’s citizens united to demand an end to repression and the start of a democratic future. Sudanese from all walks of life – especially Sudan’s women and youth – showed great courage in taking to the streets. Some paid with their lives. Their bravery and sacrifice will forever remain an inspiration to all those seeking democracy.

“Since the unconstitutional military takeover on October 25, hundreds of thousands of Sudanese have again taken to the streets to demand respect for their basic human rights and to voice their enduring aspiration for a democratic Sudan. The United States stands in solidarity with their calls for a civilian-led transition, which is the only pathway to a stable, just, prosperous, and peaceful Sudan. We urge Sudan’s political and military leaders to respond to these calls by putting the interests of the country above their own and by recommitting to the spirit of the 2019 Constitutional Declaration through demonstrable action. Transitional institutions need to be strengthened under civilian authority, and the state of emergency should be lifted. All political detainees held since October 25 should be freed and freedom of assembly and peaceful protest must be guaranteed. Those responsible for the use of excessive force against civilians should be held accountable.”

Blinken concludes that “the US will continue to stand with the Sudanese people as they strive for freedom, peace and justice”.

Norway

From Oslo yesterday, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anniken Huitfeldt, acknowledged the third anniversary of the revolution, saying that friends of Sudan in the international community, including Norway, joined in celebrating this historic change.

Minister Huitfeldt laments that “the military take-over on October 25 struck at the core of the transition that we have supported. The civilian-military partnership and the constitutional order was set aside. A broad spectrum of the Sudanese society now demands the restoration of a civilian-led transition. Norway echoes their fear of return to authoritarian rule and is concerned about the situation for rule of law and human rights.”

Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anniken Huitfeldt
(Photo: Noregioan Govt.)

 

Huitfeldt emphasises that ahead of the third anniversary, “we continue to hold the security forces responsible to prevent violence against peaceful protesters and protect civilians across the country.

“We urge the military to rebuild confidence by reversing unilateral actions and appointments made after the coup. Accountability for violence against civilians and peaceful protesters will prove that the era of impunity is over.”

“Moving forward, transferring the Chair of the Sovereign Council to a civilian is key. Further, more transparency and oversight of the economy are needed. Such actions will also contribute to a conducive environment for a national dialogue, reconciliation, and transitional justice.

“We welcome renewed commitments to free and fair elections. This requires respecting freedom of speech and assembly, and respect for free and independent media. Organising the constitutional conference and establishing the election commission will be critical.

“In the current political process, a diverse set of voices should have a say, including Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), political stakeholders, civil society and resistance committees. Active participation of women is a prerequisite. This will strengthen legitimacy and build trust. We call upon political actors to engage in a constructive manner given the fragility of the situation.

“The risks of non-action are high, and time is of essence. Only with a legitimate government and legitimate institutions, the international community can fully reengage and support Sudan in the economic recovery that it so urgently needs.

“The deteriorating situation in Darfur and the political crisis in the East are very worrying. Fundamental change must benefit the whole population. The military-led Sovereign Council carries a heavy responsibility to protect civilians, prevent further escalations and find sustainable solutions for conflicts across the country. In an unstable region, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sudan remain of fundamental importance.

“Norway stands with the Sudanese people as they commemorate this monumental day and courageously continues to demand a civilian-led path towards democracy,” Minister Huitfeldt concludes.


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