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US calls on Sudan’s military council for transition to civilian govt

April 19 - 2019 WASHINGTON
US Department of State in Washington (File photo)
US Department of State in Washington (File photo)

The US Department of State has called on Sudan’s Transitional Military Council to show restraint, avoid conflict, and remain committed to the protection of the Sudanese people. It also added its voice to the growing international call for a speedy transition to civilian government.

In a statement via a spokesman yesterday, the USA says it “supports a transition to a peaceful and democratic Sudan led by civilians who represent the diversity of Sudanese society. The will of the Sudanese people is clear: it is time to move toward a transitional government that is inclusive and respectful of human rights and the rule of law.

‘The Transitional Military Council need to show restraint, avoid conflict, and remain committed to the protection of the Sudanese people’ – US State Dept

“We are encouraged by the decision to release political prisoners and cancel the curfew in Khartoum. The United States, along with our international partners, continues to stress with the members of the Transitional Military Council and other armed groups the need to show restraint, avoid conflict, and remain committed to the protection of the Sudanese people.

The statement carries the caution that Sudan’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism remains in effect, and Phase II* discussions are suspended.

“We will continue to calibrate our policies based on our assessment of events on the ground and the actions of transitional authorities,” The US statement concludes.

* Phase II

In November 2018, US Charge d’Affaires, Steven Koutsis, held a press conference at the embassy about the new phase which the USA and Sudan have entered in order for the country to be removed from the sponsors of terrorism list.

In September, the US State Department decided to keep Sudan on its blacklist of states that sponsor terrorism, yet affirmed its positive rating of Sudan’s track record in combating terrorism.

The US State Department had announced its commitment to cooperate further with Sudan and to start the process to rescind Sudan's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Today Koutsis elaborated on the 'Phase II' framework for the bilateral cooperation.

“The completion of the Five Track Engagement Plan and the lifting of certain sanctions in October 2017 marked an important milestone in US-Sudanese relations. However, our progress thus far serves as only the first step in a longer road to improving bilateral relations.

“We have therefore launched the “Phase II” framework for our bilateral engagement, which is designed to expand our cooperation, facilitate meaningful reforms in Sudan, and achieve further progress in a number of areas of longstanding mutual concern.”

Koutsis said that the second phase has the potential to make the bilateral relationship more productive than it has been in 30 years. “Providing us an opportunity to expand cooperation and achieve improvements in a number of key areas of mutual concern, including the protection of religious freedom and other human rights.

"Phase II will also “serve as a mechanism for securing justice for victims of terrorist violence”, Koutsis said.

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