Washington Links Aid to Sudan to Transition to Civilian Rule

Abdel Fattah Al Burhan speaking at the Economic Conference on 26 september 2020 (Photo by Getty Images)Abdel Fattah Al Burhan speaking at the Economic Conference on 26 september 2020 (Photo by Getty Images)

Washington informed head of Sudan’s Sovereign Transitional Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan that the United States and international aid to Sudan hinges on the country’s transition to civilian rule.

A State Department Secretary spokesman confirmed that Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Molly Phee held a phone call with Burhan to encourage him to fully implement the promised confidence-building measures by the Sudanese military.

These include lifting the state of emergency and the release of the remaining political detainees.

The US reiterated its strong support for the combined efforts of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), the African Union (AU), and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to facilitate a political process to restore a civilian-led transition to democracy in Sudan.

It welcomed the outreach and progress made to date.

Phee stressed the need for all stakeholders to participate constructively in the UNITAMS-AU-IGAD facilitated process and to make rapid progress on the framework for a civilian transitional government.

She underscored the need for the military to transfer power to a civilian government established under such a framework to enable the resumption of international financial support and development assistance.

As the process moves forward and the facilitators begin conversations with stakeholders on the substance of a solution, the US is convinced that the UNITAMS-AU-IGAD facilitated process is the most inclusive mechanism to achieve an urgently needed agreement on a civilian-led transitional framework.

Phee encouraged all Sudanese civilian and military actors to utilize this process to achieve democratic progress and national stability.

Meanwhile, resistance committees that have been leading protests against the military coup in October announced preparations to sign a political charter, which sets out key demands they hope will unify civilian factions.

The Charter for the Establishment of the People’s Authority will be signed on Wednesday.

It lays out a two-year transition under a prime minister appointed by signatories to the document to serve as head of state and military commander-in-chief until a transitional legislature ratifies a constitution.

The charter is an effort to harness into a coherent political force the power of a street movement that has mobilized months of mass rallies, but has faced a crackdown by security forces in which dozens have been killed.

It avoids some thorny social and economic issues and states that any group that was not part of the regime of ousted president Omar al-Bashir or the coup can sign up.

It does away with a 2019 transitional document that established the military-civilian partnership and calls for a comprehensive review of the 2020 Juba Peace Agreement, an effort to end decades of internal conflict in Sudan.

It further envisages special human rights courts and the option of resorting to international organizations to achieve transitional justice.

Spokesman for the resistance committees further said that the charter aims to unify the revolutionary forces and the leadership to overthrow the military government and achieve the revolution’s goals, including “freedom, peace and justice, avenge the martyrs, and bring the perpetrators to fair trials.”

Resistance committees were formed in 2013 and they have played a key role in that year’s September uprising, which almost toppled the Islamist regime, which used violence to suppress protesters.

Since then, the committees have been participating and leading the protests against the ousted regime.

They have effectively contributed to the sit-in in front of the Army General Command, prompting its leadership to oust Bashir and arrest his ruling leaders on April 11, 2019.

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