US Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale arrived in the Sudan capital Khartoum today for a series of meetings with government, opposition, and civil society actors.
In a press statement, the US Department of State says that Hale will be in Khartoum to meet with representatives from the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC), the opposition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), along with civil society actors, including women and youth, who were in the forefront demanding change in Sudan.
The State Department says that Hale “will encourage full and timely implementation of the agreements reached on July 17, and August 4, to create a civilian-led transitional government, and underscore our expectation that the transitional government will reflect the will of the Sudanese people”.
Hale’s visit to Sudan comes at the end of a tour of the region which has also taken him to Somalia and Kenya. The State Department spokesman says his trip will advance America’s commitment to peace and security in the Horn of Africa and commercial interests in the region.
Hale visited Mogadishu on August 5 and met with senior officials from the Federal Government of Somalia and the United Nations to discuss the political, security, and economic reform agenda. On August 6, Hale paid tribute to the victims of the August 7, 1998, embassy bombings in a commemoration ceremony in Nairobi in Kenya. He also met with senior government officials to further promote the bilateral relationship in the areas of economic and security cooperation.
Special Envoy Donald Booth
As a precursor to Under Secretary Hale’s visit, Sudan’s Foreign Ministry Undersecretary, Ambassador Omar Dahab met the US Special Envoy for Sudan, Ambassador Donald Booth, and discussed with him bilateral relations and what Sudan expects from international community after reaching agreement over interim period arrangements and formation of civilian government.
The official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reports that Dahab said that Sudan is looking forward to being integrated in the international community and that Sudan is in need of the international community support to help it achieve the UN 2030 sustainable development goals.
He added that Sudan expects normalisation of its relations with the USA and other countries, urging USA to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism due its impact on Sudan’s access to international support
Booth said that his country is working with its partners in looking into how to provide aid to Sudan, calling for commitment with dates agreed upon for establishment of interim institutions and the civilian government.
The Enough Project, an NGO that works to support peace, democratic governance, and an end to mass atrocities in Africa’s deadliest conflict zones, urges “strong action by the USA to counter ‘deep state’ corruption and illicit financial flows in Sudan”.
In a statement ahead of Under Secretary Hale’s visit, John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project said: “The United States has a unique opportunity to support peace and democracy in Sudan. But leaving the current ‘deep state’ untouched is a recipe for continued violence and corruption-fuelled gridlock. The USA should use network sanctions to target peace spoilers like General and the Rapid Support Forces, as well as some of the companies that the intelligence and security services operate as a means of looting the wealth of the country. Until that underlying kleptocracy begins to be dismantled, there will be many agreements signed but none implemented.”
Joshua White, Director of Policy and Analysis at the Enough Project’s partner orgasnisation The Sentry, said: “It’s time for the US government to prioritise stemming illicit financial flows from Sudan. Extensive corruption in the country serves to prop up Sudanese officials who repress and steal from their people. Under Secretary Hale should make clear that the USA will not tolerate the massive theft of state assets by those whose power is a legacy of Omar al-Bashir, and should take action through the USA Treasury Department’s powerful anti-money laundering and asset freezing authorities.”
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