Blinken urges more Sudan progress before US aid resumes

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Sudanese leaders in calls Monday that the country needs to make more progress on democracy before Washington resumes $700 million in suspended aid.

“This is the first step. It’s not the last step,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, describing Blinken’s conversations a day after the reinstatement of Sudan’s civilian prime minister.

Price said there was no resumption of assistance, adding, “These decisions will be predicated entirely on what happens in the coming hours and the coming days and the coming weeks.”

Blinken, who earlier has said he was “encouraged” by the weekend deal, spoke separately with General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who was released from house arrest.

“That was essentially his message — that we must continue to see progress, we must continue to see progress, we must continue to see Sudan move back down the democratic path,” Price said.

Sudan set up a fragile power-sharing arrangement between the military and civilians after the 2019 toppling of dictator Omar al-Bashir, with elections due in 2024.

The United States sought to support the transition through $700 million aid package, which it suspended when Burhan ousted Hamdok and later appointed new members to the ruling council.

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