By Jason Lange
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States warned Sudan this week that failure to make progress on a transition to civilian rule could put at risk political and economic support from Washington, a State Department spokesperson said on Saturday.
U.S. envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman visited Sudan from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1, one week after an attempted coup raised tensions between the civilian and military groups that share power in the country.
Sudanese authorities have said that the coup plotters loyal to ousted President Omar al-Bashir were trying to derail the revolution that removed Bashir from power in 2019 and ushered in a transition to democracy.
The thwarted coup, which the United States condemned, points to the difficult path facing Sudan under a fragile power-sharing deal between the military and civilians since the overthrow of Bashir, who presided over Sudan for nearly three decades and was shunned by the West.
Sudan’s current ruling body, known as the Sovereign Council, has won Western debt relief and taken steps to normalize ties with Israel, while battling a severe economic crisis. Elections are expected in 2024.
But the 11-member Sovereign Council does not yet have a date for handing leadership of the body from the military to civilians.
Feltman met Sovereign Council head General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan as well as civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, among other political leaders, said State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
The U.S. envoy pressed Sudanese politicians to make “swift progress” toward civilian rule, including a “reaching consensus on the date” when a civilian would take charge of the Sovereign Council, according to Price.
“Deviation from this path and failure to meet key benchmarks will place at risk Sudan’s bilateral relationship with the United States, including significant U.S. assistance,” Price said.
(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Daniel Wallis)