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US conditionalizes Sudan’s military funding

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WASHINGTON: The United States made clear to Sudan’s military leaders that Washington is prepared to impose additional costs if violence against protesters continues. US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee spoke to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday. 

She said that the United States is reviewing the full range of traditional and non-traditional tools at its disposal to reduce funds available to Sudan’s military leadership and isolate its military-controlled companies.

“I have made clear publicly and privately that violence against peaceful protesters perpetrated by security services since October 25 must end,” Phee said.

Washington is also looking at tools to increase the reputational risk for those that choose to continue to engage in “business-as-usual” with Sudanese security services, Phee said.

An October coup halted a power-sharing arrangement between the military and civilians negotiated in 2019 after former president Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in an uprising.

At least 79 civilians have been killed and more than 2,000 injured in crackdowns on the protests, mainly by gunshots and tear gas canisters, according to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors.

Asked by Senator Bob Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, if there was progress on persuading the Sudanese military to end its practice of using lethal force, arbitrary arrests, and sexual violence against civil society activists and protesters, Phee said she thinks it’s “too soon to tell.”

But Phee said President Joe Biden’s administration is actively looking at how to impose pressure on companies controlled by Sudanese security forces in various sectors.

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