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Sudan is being urged by the United States to establish a government that is inclusive of all people.

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Sudan is being urged by the United States to establish a government that is inclusive of all people.
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The US urged Sudan on Tuesday to create an inclusive and representative government that guarantees stability, supports marginalized citizens, and aids “those who have suffered” in achieving justice.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield also called for the adoption of the historic Juba Peace Agreement, which was signed six months ago by the civilian-led transitional government and rebel groups, stating that “the Sudanese citizens have not seen the determination and participation required for progress” so far.

Sudan should also complete the establishment of an inclusive Transitional Legislative Council, with women accounting for at least 40% of the members, she told the United Nations Security Council.

Sudan is governed by a transitional military-civilian government, which has been on a shaky road to democracy since the military deposed autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 following mass pro-democracy protests. As part of the power-sharing pact that the transitional authorities struck in Juba with a rebel coalition, a new Cabinet was sworn in on Feb. 10 that includes rebel ministers.

Sudan’s largest single rebel group, Abdel-Aziz al-Sudan Hilu’s Liberation Movement-North, has been in negotiations with the transitional government but has yet to reach an agreement. Another major rebel group in the restive Darfur region, the Sudan Liberation Movement-Army, led by Abdel Wahid Nour, opposes the transitional government and has refused to participate in the talks.

A “shocking attack” in West Darfur in January, which killed 163 people and displaced 50,000, Thomas-Greenfield said, was “a devastating reminder of the ongoing threats that civilians face in Sudan.”

She urged the government to set up security forces, rule of law, and justice institutions in Darfur, including the Darfur Special Court.

Sudan’s transitional government is up against formidable obstacles, including a massive budget deficit, widespread shortages of basic commodities, and skyrocketing bread and other staples prices. The country owes $70 billion in debt, and the rapidly worsening economic situation sparked protests in Khartoum and other cities across the country earlier this year.

Sudan started a controlled currency flotation on Feb. 21, an unprecedented but planned move to meet a major demand from international financial institutions to assist transitional authorities in overhauling the battered economy.

The Security Council also discussed the end of UNAMID, the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur, on December 31 and the replacement of UNITAMS, the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan, or UNITAMS, with a much smaller and purely political mission.

The Darfur conflict started in 2003, when ethnic Africans rose up against the Sudanese government, accusing it of discrimination. The Khartoum government has been accused of retaliating by arming local nomadic Arab tribes and unleashing them on civilians, which it denies. In 2007, UNAMID was created.

“Sudan is making substantial progress in its transition,” Volker Perthes, the current United Nations special envoy for Sudan and head of UNITAMS, said in his first briefing to the Security Council. The remaining obstacles, on the other hand, are enormous.”

On the plus side, he cited the new Cabinet, which includes Juba agreement signatories, as well as the government’s agreement on national objectives. Addressing Sudan’s dire socioeconomic conditions, completely enforcing the Juba agreement and resuming talks with the two rebel groups that did not sign it, reforming the security sector, protecting civilians, improving foreign ties, and advancing Sudan’s democratic transition are among these goals.

On the negative side, Perthes said that forming a diverse Legislative Council quickly is necessary to “broaden the support for the political transition.” He expressed concerns that the constitutional document’s gains for women’s rights will not be achieved, as well as “frustration” among Sudanese young people over their lack of involvement in transitional institutions.

Perthes also expressed concern that “economic hardships pose a threat to Sudan’s stability.”

“In January, inflation was 304 percent,” he said, adding that the nation has high unemployment and poverty rates, with 13.4 million people — a quarter of the population — expected to need humanitarian assistance.

Perthes and the United States’ envoy, Thomas-Greenfield, both expressed concern about rising tensions along the Sudan-Ethiopia border.

70,000 people have recently arrived in Sudan, according to the UN envoy, fleeing a war between Ethiopian and allied powers and supporters of the now-fugitive leaders of Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray province, who once controlled the country’s government.

Thomas-Greenfield cautioned that “the risk of miscalculation is high,” citing “recent bellicose rhetoric and the positioning of additional powers around the el-Fashaga region.”

“As a result, we urge both sides to increase direct contact in order to avoid further military confrontation and to commit to talks without preconditions,” she said.

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