US imposing sanctions against those perpetuating violence in Sudan

  • World
  • Thursday, 01 Jun 2023

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2023. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

WASHINGTON/CAIRO (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on companies it accused of fueling the conflict in Sudan, stepping up pressure on the army and a rival paramilitary force to bring an end to the fighting as ceasefire talks are at risk of collapse.

The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement it targeted two companies affiliated with Sudan's army and two companies affiliated with the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), accusing them of generating revenue from the conflict and contributing to the fighting.

“Through sanctions, we are cutting off key financial flows to both the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Armed Forces, depriving them of resources needed to pay soldiers, rearm, resupply, and wage war in Sudan,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in the statement.

“The United States stands on the side of civilians against those who perpetuate violence towards the people of Sudan.”

The United States, alongside Saudi Arabia, has been leading efforts to try to secure an effective ceasefire in Sudan, which has been a focus of Washington's diplomatic efforts in Africa as it works to counter Russian influence in the country and the wider region.

Thursday's action marks the first punitive measures imposed under an executive order signed by U.S. President Joe Biden in May that paved the way for new Sudan-related sanctions amid the fighting.

The conflict, which broke out on April 15, has killed hundreds, displaced more than 1.2 million people inside Sudan and driven 400,000 others across borders to neighboring states, the United Nations says.

Washington targeted Algunade, which it said is a Sudanese holding company controlled by RSF Commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and his brother; Tradive General Trading L.L.C., a front company controlled by RSF Major Algoney Hamdan Dagalo, another brother; Sudan's largest defense enterprise Defense Industries System; and arms company Sudan Master Technology.

Algunade has in the past bypassed central bank controls to export tens of millions of dollars of gold to Dubai, according to Reuters reporting in 2019.

Washington also issued an updated business advisory to highlight growing risks to U.S. business and individuals exacerbated by the conflict, including trade in gold from a conflict-affected area, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a separate statement.

He added that visa restrictions were imposed on individuals in Sudan, including officials from both the army and RSF and leaders from the former Omar al-Bashir government.

The latest violence was triggered by disagreement over an internationally backed plan to form a new civilian government.

Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF commander Dagalo, known as Hemedti, had been preparing to sign on to a new political transition to elections under a civilian government when the war erupted. Together they had toppled a civilian government in an October 2021 coup.

Sudan's army suspended talks with the rival paramilitary force on Wednesday over a ceasefire and aid access, raising fears the six-week-old conflict will push Africa's third largest nation deeper into a humanitarian crisis.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis, Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu in Washington and Nafisa Eltahir in Cairo; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Chizu Nomiyama)

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