Panafrican News Agency

US-Sudanese relations discussed during short visit by US Secretary of State

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo Wednesday told senior government officials here the US administration would continue to support the civilian-led cabinet of the Sudan.

A statement issued by the US State Department and received here Wednesday said Pompeo met with Sudanese Sovereign Council Chair General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan.

It said the two “discussed the importance of the military’s continued support for the civilian-led transitional government and Sudan’s path toward democracy”.

The meeting was also to prepare the grounds for the coming UN units that Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdouk has invited to assist with the implementation of the peace process in south Sudan, capital, Juba, which has almost reached a final agreement.

The American official was apparently referring to reservations made by the Sudanese military that a UN force coming to the Sudan would only be another form of subjugation.

The civilians said, however, responded, saying that the huge requirement and expertise required to rehabilitate vast areas and services and return millions of refugees and displaced could not be handled by Sudan alone, hence the call for a UN assistance.

Another thorny issue raised by the visiting Secretary of State was the relations between the Sudan and Israel. For the first time in decades, a direct flight from Israel to Sudan was witnessed Tuesday when Pompeo’s flight landed in Khartoum direct from Israel.

In Khartoum, the statement said, Pompeo and General Burhan discussed regional issues of mutual importance, “including continued deepening of the Israel-Sudan bilateral relationship”.

State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus also issued another statement saying Pompeo met with Sudanese Prime Minister Hamdouk in Khartoum. 

The statement said the US Secretary of State and Sudanese prime minister discussed “continued U.S. support for the civilian-led transitional government and noted that rescission of Sudan’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation remains a critical bilateral priority for both countries”.

Many analysts in Khartoum are of the view that whatever be the rapprochement between Khartoum and Washington, it can lead nowhere  without Sudan being de-listed from the group of countries Washington accuses of sponsoring international terrorism.

No investors and no state would risk having its name linked to a state sponsor of terrorism, as the stakes would be high. Others argue that the price for the removal of the Sudan from that list would be to have good relations with Israel.

But Sudanese politicians and pro-Arab Baath party as well as the communist party, major actors within the transitional government of Hamdouk, have been arguing that the political price for such an action is too high and the reward is little.

They cited the case of Egypt and Jordan who have long peace agreement and diplomatic relations with Israel but received nothing in return, according to a member of the Sudanese communist party, Sidigi Kabalo.

However, the State Department spokesman, Ortagus, argued that Pompeo and Hamdouk discussed “positive developments in the Sudan-Israel relationship”. 


-0-     PANA      MO/RA       26Aug2020