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Two senior U.S. diplomats were in Sudan Wednesday to try and help find a way out of the ongoing crisis roiling the African country since an October military coup.
The Oct. 25 military takeover upended Sudan’s transition to democratic rule after three decades of repression and international isolation under autocratic President Omar al-Bashir, ousted during a popular uprising in April 2019.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Molly Phee and the newly appointed U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa, David Satterfield, first met with pro-democracy activists from the Sudanese Professionals Association, according to the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. They were also to later meet with the ruling generals and other political figures.
The activists led the uprising against al-Bashir and are now a pillar of anti-coup protests that have demanded a fully civilian government to lead the transition.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said earlier this week that Phee and Satterfield would reiterate Washington's call for Sudanese security forces to “end violence and respect freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”
Before arriving in Khartoum, Phee and Satterfield attended a meeting of the Friends of Sudan group in Saudi Arabia to rally support for U.N. efforts to end Sudan’s ongoing deadlock. The group includes the United States, Britain and other international governments and world financial institutions.
Sudan’s turmoil has been worsened following the resignation of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok earlier this month. Hamdok, who was ousted in the October coup only to be reinstated a month later under heavy international pressure, stepped down on Jan. 2 after his efforts to reach a compromise failed.
On Monday, security forces opened fire on anti-coup protests in Khartoum, killing at least seven people and wounding at around 100. The fatalities have brought the death tally among protesters since the coup to more than 70.