On Monday, the United States announced to cut off $700 million in emergency aid to Sudan. The announcement came some hours after military officials arrested the civilian government leaders of Sudan, fired at civilian protestors, and endangered the nascent transition of the country to democracy. Furthermore, the U.S. State Department is halting $700 million in direct economic support funding to the government of Sudan, according to Ned Price, the spokesman of the State Department.
Price said that last year’s Congress approved payments in a budget bill intended to support the democratic transition of Sudan, and none have been distributed to the current government of the country. He urged the military leaders of Sudan to release any arrested civilian politicians, restore a transitional government and stop retaliating against demonstrators. The Sundanese transitional government was founded after Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir resigned two years ago.
The United States says it has halted $700 million it had promised in aid to Sudan and said the country’s normalization efforts with Israel will have to be re-evaluated in a generally strongly worded State Dept briefing
— Nafisa Eltahir (@nafisaeltahir) October 25, 2021
The U.S. Committed $423 Million Assistance to Sudan
Moreover, the spokesperson didn’t exclude imposing sanctions against Sudanese military leaders if needed. He also said that the Biden government might need to reconsider the entire relationship of the U.S. with Sudan. However, the relationship between the U.S. and Sudan has improved since al-Bashir’s 2019 removal. According to the United States Agency for International Development, the Bidden government committed around four hundred and twenty-three million dollars aid to Sudan in the 2021 fiscal year. The huge majority of that assistance reserved for humanitarian purposes and emergency food aid.
The Sudan Army Seizure Power in Sudan
The Sudan military arrested Abdullah Hamdok, the Prime Minister of Sudan, his wife, and many members of his government. According to several reports, military officials declared a state of emergency in the country and suspended the civilian-led government, and military troops opened fire at the demonstrators, which led to many innocent deaths. The reportedly military seizure endangers a years-long transition to civilian-led democracy that started after al-Bashir – whose thirty-year rule marked with alleged war crimes and famine in the Darfur region of the country.
However, the traditional authorities struggled to go ahead on the issue, including whether hand over Bashir to the international criminal court, where the leader wanted for war crimes. The United States special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, met civilian and military leaders over the weekend in a negotiation effort. Josep Borrell, the European Union foreign affairs chief, said the alliance expressed its deepest concern about events.
Soldiers in Sudan fired live rounds at pro-democracy protesters after the military dissolved the government and took over in an apparent coup.
The military arrested civilian leaders, ending a joint civilian-military council that has ruled since Pres. al-Bashir’s ouster in 2019. pic.twitter.com/AiVtygk8CI
— AJ+ (@ajplus) October 25, 2021
The U.S. Government Legally Required to Cut off Foreign Aid to Military-led Countries
Soon after the ouster of al-Bashir, the military established a transitional government with civilian political leaders and vowed to hold elections, but this arrangement faced some months of tensions between civilian and military groups, CNN reported. However, relations between the U.S. and Sudan gradually improved during the last year. Likewise, the Trump government removed Sudan from the United States list of state sponsors of terrorism, allowing it to access global aid and loans, and the Sudanese government vowed to pay around d$335 million to victims of al-Qaeda terror attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and on the USS Cole in 2000.
Price said that the United States government legally required to cut off or pause foreign assistance to countries where military officials grab power from an elected leader. Sudan is already facing coup-based restrictions on foreign aid, dating back to the al-Bashir’s takeover of power in 1989. This rule caused occasional controversy – in 2013, when Egypt fell under country’s military control, the Obama government at first did not describe it as a coup, though government officials later suspended some military assistance to Egypt, which is one of the largest recipients of the United States military aid globally.