International

Biden calls for Sudan military to hand power back to people

President Biden on Thursday called for restoration of the civilian-led government in Sudan, days after the military took over the country by arresting top politicians and dissolving the U.S.-backed transitional governing body.

It is Biden’s first official statement on the crisis in Sudan since the military announced its takeover in the early hours of Monday. The president’s remarks follow condemnations issued from the White House, State Department and international governments and groups.

Biden cited the chorus of opposition, including the African Union, Arab League, European Union, International Monetary Fund and the United Nations Security Council, to name a few, as providing an “overwhelming and clear message.”

“The Sudanese people must be allowed to protest peacefully and the civilian-led transitional government must be restored,” the president said, calling for the military to release all those detained and restore the institutions of Sudan’s transitional government — a civilian-military body established in 2019 with the goal of establishing a democratically-elected, civilian government.

“The events of recent days are a grave setback, but the United States will continue to stand with the people of Sudan and their non-violent struggle to advance the goals of Sudan’s revolution.”

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday issued a second statement calling “upon Sudan’s military authorities to restore the civilian-led transitional government” and urged “all stakeholders to engage in dialogue without pre-conditions” and work within frameworks of earlier agreements that guide Sudan’s democratic transition.

The Sudanese military, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has faced ongoing opposition on the international stage and with mass protests in the streets of major cities across Sudan since the military takeover on Monday.

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who was arrested by the military, was reported to have returned home on Tuesday.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Hamdok. He reiterated U.S. support for the civilian-led government and expressed “deep concern” about the ongoing military takeover.

The Biden administration has held back from calling the military takeover a coup, explaining that the U.S. already restricted its relations with Khartoum under a coup designation stemming from the military takeover by Omar al-Bashir in 1989.

A grassroots revolution in the country ousted Bashir in 2019 and a transitional government led by civilian politicians but that included military leaders was aimed at shepherding the country toward full civilian rule.

In response to the most recent military takeover, Biden’s State Department froze $700 million in economic assistance meant for promoting democracy, but said there was no change to the more than $377 million in humanitarian assistance provided to the country. 

Tags Africa Antony Blinken Joe Biden military takeover Sudan Sudan Sudanese protests

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