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Booker, Kaine, Coons, Murphy Call on President Trump to Appoint Ambassador to Sudan

October 25, 2019
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, led members of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy in urging President Trump to nominate the first U.S. Ambassador to Sudan since 1997. In a letter, Booker highlighted the importance of strong U.S. support for Sudan as the country transitions toward a civilian government and democratic elections after months of protests.

 

In April, a military coup deposed former Sudan President Omar al Bashir after decades of his regime’s corrupt rule and human rights abuses. After the military’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) resisted calls for a transition to civilian rule, protests continued across Sudan. In August,  a constitutional charter was adopted dissolving the TMC and creating a joint military-civilian Sovereign Council. As Sudan begins its fragile and challenging transition to civilian rule, the new government requires clear support from the U.S.

 

“We write in support of the new government in Sudan,” the Senators wrote. “Sudan faces crushing debt, sanctions, and a worsening economic environment. Meanwhile, hardliners within the security services, and in particular the RSF have deeply entrenched interests and could serve as spoilers for a transition to civilian rule. […] The nomination of the U.S. Ambassador to Sudan will send an important signal of our support for this new government and to the brave Sudanese that fought for their rights.”

 

The full text of the letter is available here and below.

 

October 25, 2019

 

President Donald J. Trump

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

 

We write in support of the new government of Sudan. Months of large-scale street protests in cities across Sudan, initially led by women, youth, and civil society activists evolved into a movement with urban and rural Sudanese against its brutal government. On August 21, 2019, Sudan adopted a constitutional charter that established a transitional government and paves the way toward civilian government and democratic elections. As democratic members of the subcommittee on African Affairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, we believe that this new government requires the support of the United States and therefore, we urge you to nominate the first U.S Ambassador to Sudan since 1997.

 

For nearly 30 years, former President Omar al Bashir led a corrupt regime that carried out human rights atrocities against his own countrymen and women.  Even after a military coup removed him from power, protests continued, as the Sudanese people refused to accept the Transitional Military Council (TMC) which included many of the same officials from Bashir’s regime. As activists continued to protest for democracy and their freedom, over 100 civilians were killed by security forces, reportedly led by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on June 3. 

 

On August 21, a constitution charter was signed, dissolving the TMC and creating a joint military-civilian Sovereign Council. A new prime minister, Abdalla Hamdock has been charged with leading the country through a three-year transitional period. While these are encouraging signals, the toughest challenges lie ahead. Sudan faces crushing debt, sanctions, and a worsening economic environment. Meanwhile, hardliners within the security services, and in particular the RSF have deeply entrenched interests and could serve as spoilers for a transition to civilian rule. That is why this nascent transition requires U.S. support. While restrictions on some forms of U.S. assistance may require broad Congressional support to lift, the nomination of the U.S. Ambassador to Sudan will send an important signal of our support for this new government and to the brave Sudanese that fought for their rights.

 

For this reason, we urge you to nominate an ambassador to Sudan as soon as possible. Sudan’s transition remains fragile, but it can be bolstered with thoughtful U.S. support, beginning with a U.S. ambassador in Sudan.

 

We appreciate your attention to this matter.

                                    

Sincerely,

 

Cory A. Booker, United States Senator

Timothy M. Kaine, United States Senator

Christopher A. Coons, United States Senator

Christopher S. Murphy, United States Senator