USA stops aid to Sudanese government after coup

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WASHINGTON – The United States has frozen $ 700 million in direct aid to the Sudanese government in response to Monday’s coup, and American officials have called for the Sudanese military to immediately release civilian leaders and reinstate the interim government.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ned Price acknowledged frustration among Sudanese officials and citizens at the slow pace of the transition to full civil rule and free elections two years after longtime President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was ousted. But he said the United States would “hold accountable 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,” while soldiers reportedly shot at protests, killing at least three and injuring more than 80.

“It is possible, of course, that our entire relationship with this unit in Sudan will be judged in the light of events, unless Sudan is put back on the transition path,” Price told journalists in Washington.

He said the coup took the United States by surprise, even though a special envoy, Jeffrey Feltman, was only in Khartoum on Sunday.

American officials have had no contact with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok since his arrest in military custody, Price said, and they did not appear to know his whereabouts.

Humanitarian assistance to NGOs operating in Sudan will continue, Price said.

The $ 700 million withheld is the full amount of financial support the United States has pledged to the transitional government, Price said. In order for it to be released, Sudan’s military leaders must bring Mr. Hamdok and other civilian leaders to full power. They must also release all detainees and refrain from violence against demonstrators.

All “are tremendously important” to “Any relationship we could have in the future,” said Mr. Price. He did not rule out the possibility of new sanctions in response to the military takeover.


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