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deal to reinstate Hamdok is only 'first step'
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday told Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and military leader General Abdel Fattah al Burhan that an agreement to reinstate Hamdok was only a "first step" in restoring Sudan's democratic transition, according to a spokesperson.

Hamdok was restored to his post on Sunday. He had been detained following the October 25 military takeover. First appointed after the overthrow of autocrat Omar al Bashir in a 2019 uprising, Hamdok will lead a civilian government of technocrats for a transitional period.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Blinken called on the two Sudanese leaders to build on the "first step" of the agreement and continue the transition that was interrupted by the coup.

Blinken's message was that, "We must continue to see progress, we must continue to see Sudan move back down the democratic path, and that starts with the reinstitution of the Prime Minister but it certainly doesn't end there," Price told reporters.

Price called on Sudan's leaders to release all civilian leaders and others and lift a state of emergency.

Sudan's military promised to release all political detainees after weeks of deadly disturbances triggered by the coup, although large crowds took to the streets to reject any deal involving the army.

Meanwhile, Sudanese authorities have released several civilian leaders detained since last month's military coup, a former captive said Monday, amid efforts to restore a fragile transition process towards full democracy. Last month's coup drew international condemnation and punitive measures, with the US on Monday urging more progress before resuming millions of dollars of suspended aid.

"I was released late yesterday evening," following a deal to reverse the military takeover, the head of Sudan's Congress Party, Omar al-Degeir, who was among civilians arrested in the army's October 25 power grab, said.

"I was in solitary confinement and completely cut off from the world throughout this period." The Congress Party, however, slammed Sunday's deal, saying it "explicitly legitimised the continuation of the coup regime". - AFP

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