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US says it is halting $700 million in aid to Sudan after military takeover

State Department spokesman says money was intended to assist in transition of country to a democracy, will hold to account those responsible for ‘anti-democratic actions’

Sudanese security forces keep watch as they protect a military hospital and government offices during protests against a military coup that overthrew the transition to civilian rule, in the capital Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman, on October 25, 2021. (AFP)
Sudanese security forces keep watch as they protect a military hospital and government offices during protests against a military coup that overthrew the transition to civilian rule, in the capital Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman, on October 25, 2021. (AFP)

WASHINGTON — The United States on Monday suspended $700 million in aid to Sudan after a military takeover there, and urged the immediate restoration of a civilian government.

“The civilian-led transitional government should be immediately restored and represents the will of the people,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

“In light of these developments, the United States is pausing assistance,” Price said.

He said that the suspension concerned a $700 million package in economic support meant to assist Sudan’s democratic transition.

“We are pausing that full amount,” Price said.

“We are very much standing with the people of Sudan. The people of Sudan have made clear their aspirations for the continuation of transition to democracy and we will continue to support that including, if needed, by holding accountable those responsible for these anti-democratic actions.”

Price said that the United States received no prior knowledge of the military’s intention to oust Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and had not been able to make contact with the detained civilian leader.

The takeover came as Israel was working to normalize ties with Sudan. A senior Sudanese diplomat was quoted Monday by Israel’s public broadcaster as saying that the military’s takeover of the country was not expected to dramatically affect the normalization process with Israel.

The Kan news report said that was because the military leaders, many of whom support the normalization efforts, had strengthened their position after dissolving the government and declaring a state of emergency.

The outlet quoted the unnamed diplomat as saying Hamdok, who was arrested in the takeover, had intended to soon travel to Washington to formally sign the normalization deal.

Israeli officials have yet to comment publicly on the coup in Sudan, though the broadcaster said several deliberations were held Monday on the matter.

According to Channel 12 News, the military leaders are in favor of the normalization process.

“The normalization effort between Israel and Sudan is something that will have to be evaluated as we and as Israel watch very closely what happens in the coming hours and coming days. I wouldn’t want to weigh in on that just yet,” the State Department spokesperson said Monday.

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