Al Burhan says US sanctions are "useless"

In the face of Western pressure, the military leadership reiterates that it will withdraw from the policy when a consensus can be reached

PHOTO/AFP  -   Sudan's senior general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan speaks as he attends the conclusion of a military exercise in the Maaqil area of northern Nile River state, 8 December 2021.

Sudan continues to reject any kind of foreign intrusion. Following the military coup last October, the country has entered a new political phase in which the military, led by Abdel Fattah al-Burham, has taken the political reins. Their rise to power has been anything but peaceful, and Sudan has now become a scene of civil confrontation between those who favour democracy and those who prefer a military mandate.

Protests against the military have been ongoing and have resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians and hundreds of injured. Faced with this situation, the UN has tried to launch cooperation initiatives to promote a peaceful transition, something that has been openly criticised by al-Burham, who has indicated that the organisation "is simply a mediating body" and does not have the right to "present unilateral initiatives". 

AFP/SARAH MEYSSONNIER  - President of the Sovereign Council of Sudan General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan

The UN's proposals have been joined by the United States. The difference is that the United States has decided to opt for more forceful decisions such as the adoption of sanctions. In the face of this threat, the general has dismissed these ultimatums as "useless" and emphasised the army's commitment to withdraw once the political actors have reached a common consensus or managed to hold elections.

These statements were made in al-Burham's first interview on state television. In it, he also stressed that "Washington is handling wrong information", a statement that responds to the possibility that the United States might admonish Sudan's military leadership.

PHOTO/AFP - Sudanese protesters rally in the al-Daim neighbourhood of the capital Khartoum on 2 January 2022, amid calls for pro-democracy rallies in "memory of the martyrs" killed in recent protests.

On the other hand, in response to the UN proposal, al Burham pointed out that the UN Secretary General's special envoy, Volker Peretz, is only "an interlocutor who calls everyone to dialogue". To this he added that "Volker must work on preparing the environment for the elections and that is his main task".

This stance by the military leader comes after the European Union, along with other Western countries, expressed 'alarm' following the arrest of several senior opposition figures including former Minister of Government Affairs Khalid Omer Yusef and former members of the 'Empowerment Elimination Committee' such as Uagdi Sali and Al Tayeb Osman Yusef. The latter institution, set up to confiscate property of those close to Omar al-Bashir's regime, was abolished after the military returned to power. 

PHOTO/AP  -  On Sunday 2 January 2021, Hamdok announced his resignation amid political deadlock and widespread pro-democracy protests following a military coup that derailed the country's fragile transition to democratic rule.

In addition, both Sali and Yusef were part of one of the delegations of the Forces for Freedom and Change. This civilian organisation is one of the largest civilian representations opposing the military's return to power and continues to fight for free and democratic elections.

However, the new political scenario, made even worse by the recent resignation of former Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, has turned into a maelstrom of violence that is destabilising the country's transition process. The Sudanese people continue to take to the streets demanding elections and the departure of the military, while the military continues to strengthen its presence in power under the watchful eye of the West.

Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.