US envoy for Horn of Africa to discuss Sudan in UAE

Visit comes as the top US diplomat for Africa threatened consequences against Sudanese military leaders

Sudanese protesters chant slogans during a protest against the reported killing of fellow demonstrators in Khartoum, Sudan. EPA
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David Satterfield, the new US envoy for the Horn of Africa, is visiting the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries this week and next to discuss the political crisis in Sudan, shortly after the top US diplomat for African affairs threatened consequences against Sudanese military leaders on Tuesday.

The State Department announced that Mr Satterfield has departed for the region on a trip that will also include Israel, Turkey, Egypt and Kenya.

It noted that he will “hold meetings with officials from respective governments and key stakeholders to promote democratic civilian rule in Sudan and to support peace and prosperity in the Horn of Africa".

The UAE joined the US, Saudi Arabia and the UK in calling for a return to Sudan’s transitional government shortly after last year’s coup.

Mr Satterfield’s second trip to the region comes after he returned from the Horn of Africa last week with Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee. Together they travelled to Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia.

Ms Phee on Tuesday lambasted Sudan’s ruling military leaders on Twitter, accusing them of backtracking on the commitments they made during last week’s visit.

“They publicly committed to dialogue to resolve the current crisis,” she wrote after Sudanese security forces arrested women’s rights activist Amira Osman.

“Yet their actions — more violence against protesters, detention of civil society activists — tell a different story and will have consequences.”

The US has said it would not restore $700 million in Sudanese aid that was paused after last year’s coup until the military takes steps to transition to a civilian-led government.

Following their visit last week, Mr Satterfield and Ms Phee also threatened Sudanese leaders with unspecific measures should they fail to enable a political transition in a peaceful environment.

Sudanese military forces have repeatedly cracked down on anti-coup protesters throughout the country.

Updated: January 25, 2022, 6:12 PM