| 26 February 2024, Monday |

US Describes Hamdok, Burhan Agreement as ‘First Step’

The US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, urged Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the head of the Sovereign Council, Lieutenant-General Abdul Fattah Al-Burhan, to work rapidly to put Sudan’s democratic transition back on track.


State Department spokesman Ned Price stated that Blinken recognized the “important first step” taken with the release and reinstatement to the office of Hamdok but noted the outstanding transitional tasks.


However, Blinken urged the need to “restore public confidence” in the transition and immediately release all political detainees, calling for the immediate lifting of the state of emergency.


He underscored the imperative for all parties to renew their focus on completing Sudan’s transition to democracy by implementing the transitional tasks outlined in the Constitutional Declaration and the Juba Peace Agreement.


He reiterated the US’ calls to respect peaceful protests and called on the security forces to desist from violence against demonstrators.


The Secretary urged Hamdok and Burhan to take timely action to implement the elements of the agreement reached on November 21 in fulfillment of the aspirations of the Sudanese people, including creating a transitional legislative council, judicial structures, electoral institutions, and a constitutional convention.


Both voiced their support for an effective and mutually beneficial US-Sudan relationship, reported the spokesman.


Asked about the $700 million in economic assistance to Sudan, Price said that “we don’t have any announcements to make at this time regarding our assistance, any changes to our posture,” noting that the decisions will be predicated entirely on what happens in the “coming hours, in the coming days, in the coming weeks.”


The spokesman noted that the US message is to continue to see progress, and Sudan must move back down the democratic path, which starts with the reinstitution of the prime minister, but it certainly doesn’t end there.


“We are encouraged by what we’ve seen so far, but this cannot – it must not – be the final step in what we see going forward.”


US Senator Jim Risch, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that the agreement between Hamdok and Burhan reflects the complexity and imbalance of Sudan’s democratic transition.


“While we all hope this deal will bring Sudan closer to the democracy desired by the Sudanese citizens that drove the 2019 revolution and helped install Prime Minister Hamdok, I remain skeptical,” Risch said.


He noted that the deal does not change the fact that Sudan’s military leaders carried out a coup on October 25, seized power, and senselessly killed protesters demanding the restoration of the civilian-led transition.


“The United States must continue to support the Sudanese people in their quest for a more democratic country, insist on civilian leadership of the country, and hold accountable those who seek to undermine Sudan’s future,” he concluded.


Meanwhile, UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that the UN confirms the need to protect the constitutional system and fundamental freedoms of political action in Sudan.


He urged partners in the transitional phase to urgently address outstanding issues to complete the political transition while respecting human rights and the rule of law.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat