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State Dept: Sudan poses 'reputational risks' for US businesses

US State Department spokesman Ned Price speaks on the situation in Afghanistan at the State Department in Washington, DC, on 18 August 2021. [ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]
US State Department spokesman Ned Price in Washington, DC on 18 August 2021 [ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP/Getty Images]

The US State Department yesterday issued an advisory warning US companies operating in Sudan that they may face "reputational risks" if conducting business with state-owned or military-controlled firms in the country over human rights concerns.

"These risks arise from, among other things, recent actions undertaken by Sudan's Sovereign Council and security forces under the military's command, including and especially serious human rights abuse against protesters," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

"Businesses and individuals operating in Sudan should undertake increased due diligence related to human rights issues and be aware of the potential reputational risks of conducting business activities and/or transactions with SOEs and military-controlled companies," Price added.

READ: Ethiopia accuses Sudan of forceful border breach

The African country has been gripped by regular mass protests since the 25 October coup led by army chief General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan which upended Sudan's fragile democratic transition after three decades of rule by former dictator Omar Al-Bashir.

Yesterday thousands took to the streets in the capital Khartoum to denounce the military coup which led to riot police firing tear gas at the protestors. Security forces killed one protestor on Saturday and injured dozens in the capital's twin city of Omdurman.

The latest death brings the total toll to 96 as a result of a crackdown by authorities against pro-democracy protests since October, according to the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors (CCSD).

The warning by the State Department represents growing strains between Washington and Khartoum since diplomatic relations were restored towards the end of the administration of Donald Trump which saw the lifting of decades-long sanctions on the country and its removal from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, with Sudan in turn agreeing to normalise ties with Israel as part of the wider 2020 Abraham Accords.

READ: Major alliance welcomes Sudan's national dialogue

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