April 19 (UPI) — The United States reiterated its support for Sudan’s transition to a democratic country while urging the African nation’s military to use restraint as mass protests continue.
“The United States supports a transition to a peaceful and democratic Sudan led by civilians who represent the diversity of Sudanese society,” State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement. “The will of the Sudanese people is clear. It is time to move toward a transitional government that is inclusive and respectful of human rights and the rule of law.”
However, daily mass protests have continued as the military has yet to hand over the reins of the country to civil rule, and on April 13, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan said it would take two years before the country could be relinquished to the public.
That decision was criticized by the United States, Britain and Norway on Sunday and the African Union threatened Monday that if the country wasn’t handed over to civil rule in 15 days the nation’s membership would be suspended.
In response to the international pressure, Burhan said Wednesday the military would hand over power “as soon as possible,” the Sudan Tribune reported.
The U.S. State Department also said it was encouraged by the military’s decision to cancel the curfew imposed on the capital city of Khartoum and release political prisoners, which was one reason behind the ongoing protests by the Sudanese Professionals Association.
The U.S. State Department also noted that Sudan continues to be designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.
“We will continue to calibrate our policies based on our assessment of events on the ground and the actions of transitional authorities,” Ortagus said.
The U.S. statement comes as the Forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change, which the Sudanese Professionals Association is a main member of, announced the formation of its own transitional civil government in order to receive rule of the government from the military.
“A delegation from the Freedom and Change Declaration Forces has since informed the leadership of the armed forces of a summary of this envisaged framework as well as the intended steps to be taken in the following days to commence the handover to a transitional civil authority,” Forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change said in the statement published on the Sudanese Professionals Association website.