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US’s Power pledges more support to Sudan calls to disband RSF militia

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Samantha Power speaks at Khartoum University on 3 August 2021 (USAID photo)August 3, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Samantha Power, pledged to keep supporting the democratic change in Sudan and called for build a single army.

Before leaving Sudan, Power had a lecture at the University of Khartoum where it was an opportunity for her to meet Sudanese intellectuals and elite after visiting Darfur and meeting with the government officials.

In a very passionate and long speech, she moved reassured Sudanese who were doubtful of the Biden administration and its support for their struggle for freedom, peace and democracy.

She told the audience how Sudan was important for her personally pointing that her visit to Darfur in 2004 transformed her life: she becomes an activist after being a journalist before joining the Obama administration to stand up with the plight of Darfur people.

Power stated she understands the frustration and impatience of Sudanese who after the change are facing huge inflation, power outages and water shortages. Furthermore, she underscored women’s underrepresentation in the government and the issue of the unified national army.

She was referring to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of the deputy head of the Sovereign Council who seeks to maintain his militia pleading that it was established by the parliament.

The US official however recalled that establishing a unified army whose influence is limited to the security and defence issues is a key reform to establish democracy in Sudan.

"The United States agrees that Sudan’s army should have a single, unified command, and we will actively support civilian-led security reform and the formal integration of the Rapid Support Forces and former opposition armed groups," she emphasized.

"These steps are all crucial, as we work with the Transitional government to prepare for elections in 2024," she added.

In December 2020, the U.S. Congress approved a bill to support the democratic transition in Sudan. According to this legislation, the administration has to assess security sector reforms by the Sudanese government, such as demobilizing militias and fostering civilian control of the armed forces.

Support to electoral process and COVID-19 vaccines

USAID chief announced an additional $4.3 million to support electoral processes and an independent election commission to help ongoing efforts to prepare for elections in 2024.

She further announced an additional $56 million of life-saving assistance to help people throughout Sudan’s periphery with emergency healthcare and nutrition; water, sanitation, and hygiene programmes.

Also, she confirmed a statement by the White House about the donation of 604,000 doses of US-provided Johnson & Johnson vaccines. She added that the vaccine will arrive in Khartoum soon.

In addition, she announced that USAID will support the creation of an agricultural transformation agency to address the root causes of poverty, malnutrition and food insecurity in Sudan.

(ST)

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