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U.S. Tightens Sudan Visas

FILE: Protesters march against a framework deal that provides for a two-year civilian-led transition towards elections and would end a standoff triggered by a coup in October 2021, in Khartoum, Sudan, Dec. 5, 2022.

The United States is expanding its current visa restriction policy to hold to account military or political actors who undermine or delay the democratic process in Sudan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday.

"Just as we used our prior visa restrictions policy against those who undermined the former civilian-led transitional government, we will not hesitate to use our expanded policy against spoilers in Sudan's democratic transition process," Blinken said in a statement.

The Secretary's statement added that the policy will cover "any current or former Sudanese officials or other individuals believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic transition in Sudan, including through suppressing human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the immediate family members of such persons."

The U.S. move comes after Sudanese political parties and the military signed a framework deal on Monday that they said would pave the way for two-year civilian-led transition towards elections and end a sometimes violent standoff triggered by a coup in October 2021.

The United States and its partners welcomed the agreement and urged all parties to make a concerted effort to finalize negotiations on a new civilian-led government.

The civilian transition deal could mark a new phase for Sudan, but has already faced resistance from protest groups opposed to negotiations with the military and from Islamist factions loyal to the regime of toppled leader Omar al-Bashir.