US aid chief Samantha Power meets with Sudanese leaders, democracy activists in Khartoum

US aid chief Samantha Power on Sunday met with Sudanese leaders and democracy activists in Khartoum on the second day of her visit to Sudan.

Power, who is the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), visited the United States Embassy to thank staff “for their tireless work in supporting the country’s fragile yet hopeful democratic transition and strengthening the relationship between the United States and Sudan,” Spokesperson Rebecca Chalif said in a statement.

The Administrator also visited a memorial for USAID colleagues, John Granville and Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama, who lost their lives when gunmen ambushed their government vehicle in Khartoum in 2008.

On the diplomatic front, Administrator Power met with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Foreign Minister Dr. Mariam Al-Mahdi “to discuss how the United States can best support the Sudanese people and the Civilian-led Transitional Government (CLTG) as they advance toward national elections in 2024.”

Chalif said Administrator Power highlighted “the persistence of bureaucratic obstacles that USAID and other international partners face in Sudan and urged the CTLG to facilitate the work of external actors providing assistance to Sudan during this critical period in the country’s history.”  

Chalif added that Power also spoke with Alaa Salah, who helped awaken the world to the Sudanese protests in 2019 after images of her leading chants against then-President Omar al-Bashir went viral.

She also sat down with young activists who “suffered serious injury when attacked during the protests that would ultimately help bring down President Bashir’s regime,” Chalif said, adding that the activists pleaded “for transitional justice for crimes committed during the revolution.” 

“The Administrator then met with the Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and stressed the urgency of holding to account those in the security forces responsible for attacks on civilian protesters. Chairman al-Burhan emphasized the importance of economic development and security going hand in hand, and he reaffirmed his commitment to unite the various armed actors under a unified command before the end of the transitional period,” the spokesperson added. “In the evening, the Administrator had dinner with a group of ministers in the CLTG, including the ministers of Cabinet Affairs, Finance and Economic Planning, Health, Justice, Water and Irrigation, and Federal Governance. The discussion focused on the Ministers’ specific plans for overcoming a 30-year legacy of corruption and mismanagement and how the United States and USAID can support these efforts.”

Power will be heading to Ethiopia after Sudan where she is expected to confront Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali over humanitarian access in Tigray where the United Nations has said hundreds of thousands of people are at increased risk of unprecedented famine.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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