WASHINGTON – The United States has frozen $ 700 million in direct aid to the Sudanese government in response to Monday’s coup, and U.S. officials have demanded that the Sudanese military immediately release civilian leaders and reestablish the government of Sudan. transition.
State Department spokesman Ned Price acknowledged frustrations among Sudanese officials and citizens over the slow transition to full civilian rule and free elections, two years after its president was ousted longtime Omar Hassan al-Bashir. But he said the United States would hold “to account those who may be responsible for derailing Sudan’s path to democracy.”
Mr Price also warned the military to “refrain from all violence against demonstrators, including the use of live ammunition”, amid reports that soldiers fired at demonstrations, killing at least three people and injuring more than 80.
“Potentially, of course, our entire relationship with this entity in Sudan will be assessed in light of what has happened unless Sudan returns to the path of transition,” Price told reporters in Washington. .
He said the coup took the United States by surprise, even though a special envoy, Jeffrey Feltman, was in Khartoum as late as Sunday.
US officials have not been in contact with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok since he was taken into military custody, Price said, and they appear to have no knowledge of his whereabouts.
Humanitarian support to non-governmental aid agencies working in Sudan will continue, Price said.
The $ 700 million withheld represents the full amount of economic support funding the United States had pledged to the transitional government, Price said. For it to be released, he said, Sudanese military leaders will need to fully restore Hamdok and other civilian leaders to power. They must also release all those detained and refrain from any violence against the demonstrators.
All of them “are extremely important” to “any relationship we may have in the future,” Mr. Price said. He did not rule out the possibility of further sanctions in response to the military takeover.