With Sudan on the brink of total anarchy with escalating violence and sit-tight ruling generals, the United States is considering all options, including possible sanctions, Makila James, U.S. deputy assistant secretary for East Africa and the Sudans told a U.S. House of Representatives hearing on Tuesday.
“We’re looking at all options, including sanctions down the line should there be any kind of repeat of violence,” she said, adding that “we want to use the right tool and we want to target the right people”.
Addressing the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Africa subcommittee, she suggested that the best way forward for Sudan would be an agreement between the ruling generals and the opposition Forces for Freedom and Change.
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Both sides have been at war for almost two months over what form a transitional government should take after the military deposed and detained president Omar al-Bashir on April 11.
Negotiations between the military and opposition crashed on June 3 after soldiers opened fire on protesters in Khartoum, killing about 100 people, and leading to worldwide condemnations and the appointment by the U.S. Department of State of Donald Booth as special envoy for Sudan on June 10.
It would not be the first time the United States would sanction Sudan. It did it several years ago over the north African country’s support for militant groups and the civil war in Darfur. But trade sanctions were lifted in 2017 although Sudan remains on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.
The designation prevents Sudan from accessing funding from international lenders. The Trump administration has said that Sudan would remain on that list until the military leaves power.
But these sanctions may not affect the rulers in Sudan after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered a $3 billion in aid to the military council.
However, James said Saudi Arabia and the UAE have told American officials they want a civilian-led transitional government in Sudan.