A US envoy on Tuesday applauded what he saw as a restraint during Sudan’s demonstrations against the military coup, seeing a hopeful sign for a peaceful return to civilian-backed rule.
The United States had voiced alarm and warned Sudan’s military not to use force ahead of mass protests called for Saturday over the October 25 ouster of the civilian leadership.
Jeffrey Feltman, the US special envoy for the Horn of Africa, said that the death toll of three was “far too many” but added, “We also commend those members of security forces who exercised restraint and upheld their obligations to respect human rights.”
Feltman said demonstrators also showed restraint by mostly avoiding sensitive military sites.
“You saw evidence, I think, of the Sudanese understanding that they need to get themselves out of this crisis by the conduct of the demonstrations,” Feltman told reporters.
It “demonstrated an understanding by the Sudanese people themselves that they have to be careful and find a way back to the civilian-military partnership that this transition requires.”
He renewed a call for General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to restore the civilian government, saying that Washington’s suspension of $700 million in aid showed that the military could not rule alone.
“I think that the military will recognize that they need the type of international support that was being given to the transitional authorities,” Feltman said.
Sudan established a transitional authority with both military and civilian leadership, setting a goal of elections in 2024, following mass protests that in 2019 ousted longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir.
Feltman said both sides will need to work together.
“Our view is that during this transition period, one’s not going to be able to sideline the military, just as the military should not be trying to sideline civilians as they are now.”
Ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, in a meeting Monday with US, British and Norwegian ambassadors, said that the reinstatement of his government could pave the way forward.
Hamdok said that Feltman would return to Khartoum on Tuesday. Feltman, who is also handling escalating violence in Ethiopia, was speaking in Washington but said he was finalizing plans to return to the region.