(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. is weighing more economic measures on Sudan on top of suspending $700 million of aid as it tries to pressure the army into restoring democracy after Monday’s takeover, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said.
The North African nation, which was being ruled by a transitional civilian-military government, plunged into a new crisis this week with the army’s arrest of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and members of his cabinet. The move sparked protests and a crackdown that’s claimed at least seven lives, and threatens to derail Sudan’s road to democracy after the 2019 ouster of long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir.
Washington is also in “close contact” with Gulf countries to ensure there’s a unified message to the military to cease violence against civilians, release detainees and “get back on the democratic path,” Sullivan told reporters Tuesday.
“We’ll stay close and coordinated and aligned with all of the stakeholders we believe have influence in Khartoum,” he said, without naming any nations. Regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have in the past two years pledged economic support and investment projects in Sudan.
The U.S., which already suspended an aid package Monday, is looking “at the full range of economic tools available to us in coordination and consultation with regional actors and other key countries” to try and “push the entire Sudanese political process back in a positive direction,” Sullivan said.
The European Union on Tuesday also condemned the coup and arrests, warning of “serious consequences for EU’s engagement, including its financial support” if the situation isn’t immediately reversed.
The United Nations has also called for the release of Hamdok, the detained premier. Sudan’s top general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Tuesday told reporters that Hamdok was staying with him at his home and would be allowed to leave “today or tomorrow.”
He denied there’d been a coup and described the army’s steps as necessary to save a nation being pushed to the brink of civil war by political groups intent on derailing its democratic transition.
Sudan’s Civil Aviation Authority on Tuesday said all scheduled flights to and from the airport in the capital, Khartoum, were being suspended until Oct. 30.
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