Sunday, November 28

From pressure to quiet diplomacy… What role for the Biden administration in the New Sudan Agreement?

From the first moment of the army’s seizure of power, the US position was confused about the developments in the Sudanese crisis, especially since the “coup” occurred hours after Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman left Khartoum after meeting with Army Commander Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan, which caused widespread anger in Washington.

Washington – Immediately after the army took control of the political power in Sudan on the 25th of last month, and it dissolved the government, declared a state of emergency, and detained dozens of politicians and activists, led by Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, the administration of US President Joe Biden suspended bilateral aid and publicly condemned the army, and warned in clear language of the consequences The army’s use of force to consolidate its coup.

From the first moment of the army’s seizure of power, the American position was confused about the developments of the Sudanese crisis. On the one hand, the coup occurred hours after Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman left Khartoum after meeting with the army chief, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, which caused widespread anger in Washington, and a determination to put pressure on the army. to undo his steps.

Washington’s focus then shifted to pressuring the military to restore Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and his civilian ministers to power before aid and debt relief discussions resume. Washington impeded the international community’s provision of previously agreed development aid, estimated at $4 billion, and froze discussions on debt relief, which amounted to more than $50 billion, as Washington has significant influence over the Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Following the news of the new agreement between the parties to the political conflict in Sudan, in which the military and civil parties pledged to work together to complete the democratic path, Washington expressed its support for this new agreement. Some commentators went on to say that the agreement came as a result of the US diplomatic effort to pressure the parties to the conflict inside Sudan and the regional players who have influence on the Sudanese army.

quiet Washington diplomacy

Commenting on the news that the Sudanese parties had reached the announcement of the new political agreement between the army chief, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and the ousted Prime Minister, Abdullah Hamdok, the former US diplomat Martin Indyk praised Washington’s role and praised the way Jeffrey Feltman – the American envoy for the Horn of Africa – managed the crisis, and tweeted. Indyk says, “Great salute and appreciation for the quiet American diplomacy as practiced by Special Envoy Jeffrey Feltman.”

According to David Sheen, a former US assistant secretary of state for African affairs and a scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, his country has consistently supported the transition to civilian government and democratic elections.

In an interview with Al Jazeera Net, Sheen indicated that Washington “pressure on the Sudanese government to return Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok and his civilian ministers, and the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ms. Molly Fay, visited Khartoum last week, and the US Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman.” On several visits to Sudan since the coup, this was made very clear by Foreign Minister Blinken in his telephone conversations with Sudanese leaders.”

Yesterday, Monday, Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken spoke separately with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Chairman of the Sovereign Council, Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan. The US State Department indicated that Sudan “needs to make further progress before Washington resumes disbursing $700 million in frozen aid.”
In response to a question whether the United States is ready to resume the financial aid that was suspended following the military coup, he replied that it depends on “what happens in the next few hours, days and weeks.”
State Department spokesman Ned Rice said that Prime Minister Hamdok’s return to power after the army arrested him at the end of October is an “important first step”, but “no more than that.”

US Assistant Secretary of State Molly Fay (left) meets the Secretary of State with the ousted government, Maryam Al-Mahdi (communication sites)

Will Sudan’s generals abide? .. Washington wonders!

Ambassador Shin believed that “the main challenge of the latest agreement is to ensure that the generals abide by it, they are the only party that has the weapons and they can impose their will by force, but at the same time they have to worry that the demonstrators in the Sudanese street are not convinced that they intend to implement the agreement, which leads to “The continuation of protests in the streets, and indeed their expansion. If we add the deteriorating economy, this reality exhausts any government that comes to power in Sudan, including a government controlled by the generals.”

“If the Sudanese economy continues to collapse, it will lead to larger protests in the streets, and the army may lose control of the situation,” Ambassador Shin added.

Although the details are not clear, Hamdok will be allowed to form a new government, and elections are supposed to take place in late 2023 or early 2024, and no agreement has yet been reached to appoint new ministers, and this occurs at a time when the popularity of the army is dropping significantly among the people. peanuts.

Jonas Horner, regional analyst for Africa at the International Crisis Group, believes that the agreement announced on Sunday significantly weakens the position of the Sudanese civilian government, as the country moves towards holding elections. Horner added that the executive branch “will be run by people who cannot be trusted, or at least cannot be trusted to deliver what the street protesters want.”

Prominent political parties and the powerful protest movement in Sudan had opposed Hamdok’s decision to sign the agreement with the army last Sunday, and some described it as a “betrayal” and that it “provided a political cover for the coup.”
But Hamdok said that a new technocratic government “could help improve the Sudanese economy, which has suffered from a protracted crisis”, which includes one of the highest inflation rates in the world and suffers from a severe shortage of many basic goods.

US envoy to the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, talks in the Sudanese capital, KhartoumJeffrey Feltman (left) during his meeting with Hamdok in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum (Al-Jazeera)

Good timing, achievement for Biden

It is expected that President Biden will host on the ninth and tenth of next December a virtual summit for democracy to which he will invite heads of democratic states and governments and members of civil society, hoping to improve his country’s image after former President Donald Trump showed a great disregard for issues of human rights and freedoms in the scientist. Some commentators believe that the Sudanese situation provides President Biden with a case to use to renew his claim of victory for democratic values ​​and respect for human rights around the world.

In an interview with Al Jazeera Net, Cameron Hudson, the former official in charge of the Sudan file in the administration of President Barack Obama and currently an expert in the Atlantic Council, said that Washington has made a significant diplomatic investment, as well as providing many financial resources in the transitional phase for Sudan, and that Washington “believes in the right of the people.” Sudanese to have his voice heard and to be able to choose the type of government he prefers.”

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Reference-www.aljazeera.net

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