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US appoints Sudan envoy for the first time in 25 years

November 28, 2021 at 2:11 pm

(L to R) Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Sovereign Council chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan attend the opening session of the First National Economic Conference in the capital Khartoum on September 26, 2020. [ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP via Getty Images]

The US has appointed an ambassador to Sudan for the first time in 25 years, after Washington upgraded its diplomatic representation with Khartoum from Chargé d’Affairs to ambassador.

According to Al-Arabiya, John Godfrey was made US envoy to Khartoum yesterday, becoming the first American ambassador in the country since 1996 when diplomatic relations were severed between the two countries.

In July, Foreign Policy tipped Godfey with being the candidate most likely to become the top US diplomat in the country. At the time, Godfrey was the US State Department’s acting counterterrorism envoy and special envoy for the global coalition against Daesh.

Prior to this, he held several posts across the Middle East and North Africa during his time in the foreign services and between 2013 to 2014, he was chief of staff to the then Deputy Secretary of State, William Burns, who is currently head of the CIA. Godfrey’s experience in the region has been described as advantageous for the US as Sudan transitions towards democracy amid the influence of competing regional powers.

Last month, Sudan’s army chief General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan led a coup, dissolving the transitional government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, detaining dozens of politicians and activists in the process. Following international pressure, Hamdok was reinstated earlier this week after being held under house arrest. However, thousands took to the streets of the capital on Thursday in protest against the military takeover and Hamdok’s decision to renegotiate with the army.

At the end of last year, former US President Donald Trump agreed to revoke Sudan’s state sponsor of terrorism designation, after Khartoum was pressured into normalising relations with Israel. Sudan also agreed to pay $335 million in compensation to the families of victims of terrorism allegedly sponsored by Sudan. Sudan was placed on the list in 1993, after then president Omar Al-Bashir hosted Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in his country.

READ: The National Umma Party declares its support to agreement between Burhan and Hamdok