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Washington ignored warnings on Sudan days before descent into chaos

Senate lawmakers called for a new approach after State Department officials led by Africa bureau director Molly Phee repeatedly downplayed warnings that the country’s rival generals were heading for a violent confrontation.
his combination of pictures created on April 18, 2023 shows Sudan's army chief, Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (L), in Juba on October, 14, 2019 and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (R), who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), addressing the media upon his return from Russia at Khartoum airport on March 2, 2022. - Explosions rocked the Sudanese capital Khartoum on April 18, 2023 as fighting that has claimed nearly 200 lives entered a fourth day, despite growing (Photo by Akuot Chol and Ashr

WASHINGTON — The top two lawmakers on the Senate’s foreign relations panel called on the Biden administration to appoint a new envoy for Sudan after US-brokered talks between rival generals in Khartoum collapsed in violence last month, threatening to plunge the country into civil war.

During a hearing with the State Department's official for political affairs Victoria Nuland last week, committee Chair Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said he would press the administration “at various levels” to appoint an envoy to oversee Washington’s diplomatic engagement with Sudan.

“We urgently need a high-level representative to deal with interlocutors in Africa, the Gulf and Europe, and one who reports directly to the president or the secretary of state,” Menendez said during the hearing.

More than 600 people have been killed and more than 700,000 have been displaced since fighting erupted on April 15 between rival forces loyal to Gens. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamadan Dagalo, better known as “Hemedti.”

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