KHARTOUM - A U.S. diplomat’s visit to Sudan this week, part of a six-nation African tour, was seen as a sign of thawing U.S.-Sudanese relations following the military’s ouster of Omar al-Bashir as president last April.
In a phone briefing Tuesday in Khartoum, Tibor Nagy, U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said there were still obstacles to Sudan’s securing financial support from the international community, including its continued spot on the U.S. sponsors of terrorism list and the country's foreign debt, now at $47 billion.
Sudanese political analyst Tarig Othman said Nagy’s visit was important now, with the Sudanese government trying to get rid of the accumulated crises the ousted regime left. He said the expected role of the U.S. administration was big, given that issues such as sustaining peace and helping Sudan's economy require effort and are linked to conditions the U.S. specified to enable the removal of Sudan from SST list.
Sudan Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok has called on the eight-nation “Friends of Sudan” group to provide political and economic support to facilitate the transition.
Under terms of last year’s political agreement, the joint military-civilian transitional government will rule the country for three years, then give way to an elected government.
Political analyst Alfatih Mahmoud said he thought Sudan’s recovery would require political as well as financial contributions. Donors and the “Friends of Sudan” can take certain steps, including debt relief and rescheduling, “so the new government can put its feet on the ground,” he said.
Survivors seek justice
Another obstacle to Sudan’s recovery is the issue of justice. Families of people killed during last year’s revolution have urged the United States to pressure Sudan’s transitional government to investigate possible crimes against humanity committed during the uprising.
Handing over al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court was one of the issues Sudan’s transitional authorities discussed with Nagy.
Sudan’s attorney general, Tajelsir el-Hibir, has said that any transfer of al-Bashir depends on the stance of the victims’ families and the outcome of peace talks with the Darfur rebel movements in Juba.