Washington supports 'Sudanese solution' to restore civilian government, US envoy says

Jeffrey Feltman calls military takeover 'grave setback' but sees signs of hope for return to civilian-backed rule

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - July 1, 2009: Jeffrey D Feltman, acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs with the United States government speaks about America's current areas of focus in the region. Seen at the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi. 
( Ryan Carter / The National ) *** Local Caption ***  RC005-JeffreyFeltman.JPG

Washington would support a Sudanese-brokered solution to the country's crisis following the October 25 coup, a senior US official said on Tuesday, while also applauding the military for what he saw as restraint during a recent demonstration.

Jeffrey Feltman, the special envoy to the Horn of Africa, said the US “would be supportive of a Sudanese solution” that would include the restoration of the civilian government and the reversal of measures taken during the coup.

For any resolution to work, the US has told the Sudanese that “releasing all the detainees, allowing Prime Minister [Abdalla Hamdok] to do his job, [and] not be under house arrest, are a priority,” Mr Feltman said.

He also applauded what he saw as restraint during Saturday's demonstrations against the military coup.

The US envoy said the death toll of three was “far too many” but added, “we also commend those members of the security forces who exercised restraint and upheld their obligations to respect human rights".

Still, Mr Feltman said the military takeover represented a “grave setback” to Sudan.

Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan and his military supporters have hijacked and betrayed the aspirations of the Sudanese people for a peaceful, democratic country,” the US envoy said.

Sudan's top general and takeover leader Gen Al Burhan dissolved the Cabinet and the ruling military-civilian Sovereign Council, which had been charged with directing Sudan's transition to full civilian rule after the April 2019 overthrow of dictator Omar Al Bashir.

He also declared a state of emergency, detained Sudan's civilian leadership and suspended the work of a commission appointed by the civilian-led government in charge of dismantling the legacy of Al Bashir's 29-year rule.

Gen Al Burhan “needs to allow the civilian government to resume its work and to look for mechanisms to address what he says are concerns,” Mr Feltman said.

Mr Hamdok on Monday said the reinstatement of his government, rather than a Cabinet of technocrats as suggested by the military, could pave the way for an end to the military takeover.

He made the remarks during a meeting with the ambassadors of the US, Britain and Norway at his home — where he remains under house arrest — the Information Ministry, which remains loyal to him, said.

The ousted prime minister “insisted on the legitimacy of his government and transitional institutions,” the Information Ministry said on its Facebook page.

It quoted Mr Hamdok as saying “the release of Cabinet ministers and the full reinstatement of the government could pave the way to a solution”.

Mr Hamdok demanded that the situation in Sudan be returned to what it was before the takeover and refused to negotiate with the country's military rulers, the ministry said.

In addition to calling for the release of civilians detained in the coup, Mr Feltman said those injured in protests after the takeover should receive medical care.

Mr Feltman said the US is co-ordinating with French, Arab and African countries to find a solution.

“Our impression is that whether we're talking about the Emirates or the Egyptians or [Sudan’s] African neighbours or others is that there's a real interest in stability in Sudan,” he said.

He said failure to reach a solution restoring Sudan's civilian leadership could bring further aid cuts.

The US already suspended $700 million of assistance to Sudan following the coup.

On Monday, the UN envoy to Sudan described intensive efforts to mediate between the military and civilian leaders, saying a new power-sharing plan could be revealed within days.

The takeover has been met by daily street protests in which 12 people have been killed and more than 200 injured.

It has also been internationally condemned, with major donors, including the World Bank, suspending aid and the UN repeatedly calling on the military to reverse its course.

AFP contributed to this report

Updated: November 2nd 2021, 3:14 PM
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