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White House Considers Suitable Tools to Respond to Military in Sudan

White House Considers Suitable Tools to Respond to Military in Sudan

Wednesday, 27 October, 2021 - 08:15
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan (Reuters)

The White House is looking at the full range of economic tools available to respond to the military coup in Sudan, announced National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, Sullivan announced that the Biden administration is in close contact with regional leaders, including the Gulf.

"We're closely coordinating and sending a clear message to the military in Sudan that they should, first and foremost, cease any violence against innocent civilians, that they should release those who have been detained, and they should get back on a democratic path."

He asserted that the administration will "stay closely coordinated and aligned with all of the stakeholders who we believe have influence in Khartoum."

Sullivan warned that the coup undermines the country's transition to democratic civilian rule, firmly rejecting the assertions that this is within the authority of the military leadership in Sudan.

"From our perspective, these actions are utterly unacceptable. They contravene the constitutional declaration, but, more importantly, they contravene the aspiration of the Sudanese people."

He indicated that Washington is pausing the significant aspects of its economic assistance to Sudan.

"We will look at the full range of economic tools available to us in coordination and consultation with regional actors and other key countries to make sure that we are trying to push the entire Sudanese political process back in a positive direction after this significant and alarming setback."

On Monday evening, the US State Department announced the suspension of $700 million in US aid earmarked to support the democratic transition in Sudan.

The US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, who left Sudan on the eve of the coup, stressed Washington's deep concern.

He met with officials in Khartoum in an attempt to resolve the crisis between civilian and military leaders.

During an interview with Sky News, Feltman indicated that before he left Khartoum, the team of top general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan vowed to adhere to the civil democratic transition.

Feltman accused Burhan of not being honest, noting the army violated the constitutional declaration and the democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people.

He warned that any changes in the transitional government by force would jeopardize US aid to Sudan.

UN chief Antonio Guterres also condemned the "ongoing military coup" in Sudan, saying Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and all other officials "must be released immediately."

In a statement, he called for the "immediate reconstitution" of the government, which is to guide Sudan through to democratic elections.

The Secretary-General condemned what he called "an epidemic of coup d'états."

He urged the UN Security Council to act to effectively deter them as the 15-member body prepared to discuss the military takeover in Sudan.

"The Sudanese people have shown very clearly their intense desire for reform and democracy," Guterres told reporters.

He condemned the Sudanese army's seizure of power on Monday and urged all parties to exercise "maximum restraint."

Guterres pointed to strong geopolitical divides, Security Council's "difficulties in taking strong measures," and the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as creating an environment in which some military leaders feel that they have total impunity, they can do whatever they want because nothing will happen to them.

"My appeal is for - especially the big powers - to come together for the unity of the Security Council to make sure that there is effective deterrence in relation to this epidemic of coup d'états," he said.

"We have seen that effective deterrence today is not in place."

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