US urges Sudan to build an inclusive government for all

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Mustafa Younes

FILE - In this July 30, 2020 file photo, residents displaced from a surge of violent attacks squat on blankets and in hastily made tents in the village of Masteri in west Darfur, Sudan. The U.N. says ethnic fighting in Jan. 2021 in Darfur spanned two provinces, killing at least 250 people and displacing 120,000, mostly women and children. The Darfur bloodletting just two weeks after the end of the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping forces decade-long mandate in the region raised questions about the government's ability to protect civilians there. (Mustafa Younes via AP, FIle)

CAMEROON – The United States called on Sudan Tuesday to build an inclusive and representative government that ensures peace, supports people on the margins and helps “those who have suffered achieve justice.”

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield also called for implementation of the historic Juba Peace Agreement signed six months ago by the civilian-led transitional government and rebel groups, saying so far “the Sudanese people have not seen the commitment and engagement by signatory parties necessary for progress.”

She told the U.N. Security Council that Sudan should also complete the formation of an inclusive Transitional Legislative Council, where women comprise at least 40 percent of the representatives.

Sudan, which has been on a fragile path to democracy since the military ousted autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 following mass pro-democracy protests, is ruled by a transitional military-civilian government. On Feb. 10, a new Cabinet was sworn in that includes rebel ministers as part of the power-sharing deal the transitional authorities struck in Juba with a rebel alliance.

Sudan’s largest single rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement-North led by Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu, has been in talks with the transitional government but has yet to reach a deal with the government. Another major rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement-Army in the restive Darfur region, which is led by Abdel-Wahid Nour, rejects the transitional government and has not taken part in the talks.

Thomas-Greenfield said a “shocking attack” in West Darfur in January, which reportedly killed 163 people and displaced some 50,000, was “a tragic reminder of the ongoing threats that civilians face in Sudan.”

She called on the government to establish security forces, rule of law and justice institutions in Darfur including the Special Court for Darfur Crimes.

Sudan’s transitional government faces towering challenges, including a huge budget deficit and widespread shortages of essential goods and soaring prices of bread and other staples. The country is $70 billion in debt and the rapidly deteriorating economic conditions triggered protests earlier this year in Khartoum and other cities across the country.