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US Senators seek Sudan sanctions

February 2 - 2022 WASHINGTON
Molly Phee, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, adresses the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee (US Snate)
Molly Phee, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, adresses the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee (US Snate)

A number of members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee have demanded the imposition of sanctions on the authority in Sudan. Molly Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, said during the committee session held on Tuesday entitled Sudan’s Threatened Transition and American Policy Following the October 25 Coup, that the administration does not have sufficient powers, but the Democrats in the committee confirmed the existence of powers approved by Congress. They offered to approve new powers.

Phee confirmed that the US administration is reviewing the tools to limit the funding available to the Sudanese army and isolate the companies controlled by the army. She said that the security forces in Sudan are not monolithic, and some of their elements want to see a transitional process, but they do not know how to implement it. She added, “I have hope. The Sudanese people are great and have a commitment and a vision that they will not abandon. In response to a question about the reasons for not imposing sanctions yet, Phee said we are looking into the matter and will cooperate with Congress in this regard. Phee stressed the violence against peaceful demonstrators by the security forces must end, and said that the US administration will use its authority and will look into the illegal prospecting for gold in Sudan.

Video: Remarks by the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, Robert Menendez

The Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, Robert Menendez, said that he is working with Republicans to enact a bill that sets conditions for the release of aid. He explained, during a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, that the bill establishes a system for imposing targeted sanctions against those who carried out the coup and continue to threaten the transition to democracy and violate human rights. Menendez stressed the need to impose consequences on those responsible for human rights violations and on officials in high positions who planned the coup. He said that the aid freeze is good but not sufficient to stop the violence. He pointed out that the Sudanese army continued to kill, torture, violate and arrest protesters and civil society activists, despite its public pledge of dialogue to resolve the current crisis.

Senator Jim Risch, the top Republican, said that the documented violence against civilians before and after the 25th coup proves that the Sudanese army is brutal and untrustworthy. He made it clear during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting on Tuesday that the army is unable to lead the democratic transition in Sudan. He called on the United States to make decisions that hold the army and other obstructionists of the transition process responsible. He referred to the unremitting efforts to coordinate between the two parties to pass a bill that guarantees accountability, and that reconsiders the US aid and policy towards Sudan.

Democratic Senator Chris Coons said that he proposed the name of the Sudanese Resistance Committees and the Central Sudan Doctors Association for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Isobel Coleman, deputy director of the US Agency for Development, said that despite the aid freeze after the military takeover, the agency is looking at supporting the democratic transition in three areas. The right of expression and demonstration to support the Sudanese people in ending the army’s control over politics and the economy

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