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Senators call to appoint U.S. ambassador to Sudan

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October 26, 2019 (WASHINGTON) - Four U.S. Senators have called on President Donald Trump upgrade U.S. diplomatic representation and to appoint the first U.S. Ambassador to Sudan since 22 years to show American support to the civilian-led government in the East African country.

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U.S. embassy in Khartoum

The call comes nearly two months after the formation the first transitional government in Sudan after the ouster of the former president Omer al-Bashir whose regime is accused of support to international terrorism and genocide and war crimes in Darfur region.

Due to Sudan’s designation as state sponsor of terrorism and the fragile economic situation, Washington was expected to send a strong signal of support to the Sudanese people but the U.S. administration adopted a reserved attitude from new government pointing to the continued presence of military in the government as a result of a deal reached with the protest movement on 21 August.

In a bid to push the U.S. administration to reconsider its position from the fragile transition’s in Sudan, on 25 October four senators from the Democratic Party wrote a letter to President Donald Trump urging his to upgrade US diplomatic representation in Sudan from chargé d’affaires to ambassadorial level.

“As Democratic members of the subcommittee on African Affairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, we believe that this new government requires the support of the United States and therefore, we urge you to nominate the first U.S Ambassador to Sudan since 1997,” wrote senators Cory A. Booker, Timothy M. Kaine, Christopher A. Coons, and Christopher S. Murphy.

"The nomination of the U.S. Ambassador to Sudan will send an important signal of our support for this new government and to the brave Sudanese that fought for their rights."

To explain their request the senators pointed out that "hardliners within the security services, and in particular the RSF have deeply entrenched interests and could serve as spoilers for a transition to civilian rule. That is why this nascent transition requires U.S. support".

Referring to the time that requires the lift of restrictions imposed by the Congress preventing the US government from providing assistance to the transitional government, the lawmakers said that " the nomination of the U.S. Ambassador to Sudan will send an important signal of our support (to Sudanese people and government)".

The last U.S. Ambassador to Sudan, Ambassador Tim Carney, had been appointed in June 1995. He left Sudan in November 1997. Since then the U.S. embassy in Khartoum is headed by a Charge d’Affaires.

In remarks he delivered at the Atlantic Council in Washington on 22 October, U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Donald Booth confirmed that his administration has launched a process aiming to remove the east African country from the terror list.

However, he warned that the delisting is not the only thing they have to do before to support the Sudan people but also there are congressional acts on Sudan.

"There are many areas, we have restrictions on what we can do. But I want to assure everyone that the US government is looking to do the maximum we can, given the legislative restrictions that we have," he said.

Besides direct economic support, Sudan cannot be eligible for support by international financial institutions due to the designation as a state sponsor of terrorism and congressional restrictions.

(ST)

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