US urges Sudan military to refrain from force against protests
The United States demanded that Sudan’s military refrain from violence against mass protests planned Saturday, saying it would be a key test of intentions after the civilian government was ousted.
he United States demanded that Sudan’s military refrain from violence against mass protests planned Saturday, saying it would be a key test of intentions after the civilian government was ousted.
A senior US official also estimated Friday that 20 to 30 people have been killed since the military takeover, higher than the toll of eight given by Sudanese health officials.
he official called Saturday a “real test” and said Washington was “really concerned” about the response to demonstrations that have been called to oppose the military’s removal of the civilian-led transitional government.
“The Sudanese people are preparing to take the streets tomorrow in protest of the military overthrow and we call on the security forces to refrain from any and all violence against protesters and to fully respect the citizens’ right to demonstrate peacefully,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
“I think this is going to be a real indication of what the military’s intentions are and what, unfortunately, the casualty account could be,” he said.
he official warned that the military, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, could try to prevent demonstrations entirely or close roads and bridges.
On the diplomatic front, the United States has been in close contact with the United Arab Emirates which influenced Burhan’s decision to free the deposed civilian prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok.
“We’re really focused on engaging the Emiratis, who have a relationship with General Burhan, to use that engagement — to use their credibility with General Burhan — to, in the short term, get those that who were picked up” released, he said.
Around 30 political figures remain in detention since the takeover, the official said.
he United States, which under President Joe Biden has championed democracy, has suspended some $700 million in economic support to Sudan.
he aid was meant to back the democratic transition that started after longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir was toppled in 2019 faced with youth-led protests.
European countries have also put pressure on Sudan’s military but the key Arab powers of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and neighboring Egypt have emphasized stability in their statements.
he US official did not deny the differences in approach but said the United States was seeking for the three Arab powers to push for democracy in Sudan.
“All three are very concerned with Sudan’s stability, and we simply do not see that a continuation of the type of military rule that General Burhan put in place and has in mind will keep Sudan stable,” he said.