US Assistant Secretary of State Molly Phee said she had met Sudan’s ousted prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, during a visit to Khartoum on Tuesday and discussed ways forward to restore Sudan’s democratic transition.
No other details were immediately released on the meeting with Hamdok, who was placed under house arrest on October 25 when the military seized power, upending a transition to democracy that began after autocrat Omar al-Bashir’s overthrow in 2019.
Phee, on a three-day visit to Sudan, also met army leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan who told her that steps for releasing political detainees arrested during the takeover had begun, according to Sudanese state news agency SUNA. The releases would not include those who face criminal charges.
The US Embassy said Phee also met with Mariam al-Mahdi, foreign minister in the administration that Burhan dissolved, “to show US support for the civilian-led transitional government.”
The coup ended a transitional partnership between the military and civilian groups that had helped topple al-Bashir.
Efforts at mediation have stalled, with Burhan moving to cement control with help from Bashir-era veterans. A new ruling Sovereign Council he appointed last week met for the second time on Tuesday and discussed the appointment of a new prime minister, according to SUNA.
Local resistance committees across the capital are planning protests on main roads and inside neighborhoods on Wednesday demanding a full handover to civilian authorities and that coup leaders be tried in court.
A number of professional groups including doctors and journalists have also organized protests in recent days.
Hundreds of thousands of people marched in demonstrations across the country on Saturday, and were met with tear gas and gunfire from security forces. Seven people were killed, according to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, bringing the death toll since the coup to 25.
Resistance committees and professional groups have complained about arrests amongst activists and protesters since the coup began. A number of key civilian politicians and officials have also been detained since Oct. 25.
In a statement on Monday, the US Embassy condemned the violence against protesters and said Phee would encourage the release of detainees.