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Western Envoys Vow to Resume Support for Sudan Transition

Sudanese anti-coup protesters march down a street in Khartoum, Feb. 8, 2023
Sudanese anti-coup protesters march down a street in Khartoum, Feb. 8, 2023

Special envoys from the European Union, Britain, France, Germany, Norway, and the U.S. have vowed to support Sudan's transition to a civilian-led government.

The six envoys arrived in Khartoum Wednesday and met with Sudanese political leaders to show support for the country’s ongoing political transition. But they agreed to resume financial support to Sudan only once a civilian-led transitional government is formed.

The envoys made the pledge late Wednesday after meeting with the head of Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council, General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan.

Speaking after the meeting, Peter Lord, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary for East Africa, Sudan and South Sudan, said the envoys are in Khartoum to acquaint themselves with the ongoing political process.

He said they believe that the December 5th political framework agreement is the best basis to form the next civilian-led government in Sudan, and the best basis to establish a constitutional arrangement for a transitional period that results in elections.

“It’s our strong hope that the parties will make a quick formation of a civilian led-government that is able to lead Sudan out of its current political, economic crises,” said Lord.

On December 5th, Sudanese civilian and military leaders signed a power-sharing deal that raised hopes of ending clashes between security forces and protesters that have persisted since the country’s October 2021 military coup.

Lord said it was their hope that the framework agreement will mark the first step toward forming a civilian-led government, which will prepare the nation for elections.

In early January, various Sudanese political forces that were signatories to the framework agreement launched discussions on army and security reforms, transitional justice, and dismantling elements of former President Omar al-Bashir’s government.

Khalid Omer Yousif, the official spokesperson for the ongoing political process, welcomed the visit of the six western envoys and says it is a good opportunity for them to learn about the challenges facing the process in Sudan.

He said the envoys expressed their understanding about challenges facing the political process in Sudan and their readiness to fully support all the actors to reach an urgent political solution in a short time.

The envoys’ visit coincided with an official visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Khartoum Wednesday, as part of his African tour to strengthen economic and political ties.

Sudanese political analyst Haj Hamed said Russia was trying to send a signal to Western countries that it also has strong ties with Sudan and it has to protect its interests.

“They are the main suppliers of the army with weapons and they are already supporting Himetti [Dagalo] by training and other things,” he said. “They have their own companies that are buying gold. So they have to protect this economic interest by standing firm. The Russians are becoming more aggressive now within their foreign policy as they are now becoming more militarily aggressive in Ukraine.”

The state-owned SUNA news agency reported that Lavrov met Thursday morning with General al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.

SUNA reported the meeting focused on Sudanese-Russian relations and ways to enhance them in all fields, as well as the political crisis in Sudan in light of the December framework agreement.