An American congressman visiting the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, has called for the Sudanese authorities to release all political detainees.
Gus Bilirakis, a Republican accompanied by a congressional delegation, met with various groups over the weekend, including journalists, businessmen, opposition, and civil society members who were recently incarcerated during the ongoing anti-government protests, the Sudan Tribune reported.
Sudan’s three-month political crisis was discussed as was the detention of an unnamed US citizen.
“I made clear the United States government’s concern over the incarceration of an American citizen and called for his release and for the release of all political prisoners being held in an attempt to stifle freedom of association and expression,” said Bilirakis.
The meeting attendees also agreed that the only way to resolve Sudan’s political impasse was a negotiated peace involving dialogue that respected human rights.
However, negotiations over resolving the political stand-off have stalled over the fact that the Sudanese opposition groups, which signed the Freedom and Change Declaration call, reject any dialogue with Khartoum and instead demand that President Omar Al Bashir and his government relinquish power immediately.
Bashir and his government simultaneously assert that they wouldn’t give up power under any circumstances and the only way forward is through the next general elections.
Bilirakis also held a series of meetings with government and parliament officials, including Justice Minister Mohamed Ahmed Salim, Foreign Minister El-Dirdeiry Mohamed Ahmed, and representatives of government-allied parties.
During their discussions, Salim justified the recent declaration of a state of emergency, the legal guarantees for a fair trial for those accused of taking part in the demonstrations, and their right to appeal.
The director of the National Intelligence and Security Services added that the state of emergency was needed to maintain national security.
Also discussed was the continuing normalisation of bilateral relations between Washington and Khartoum and Sudan’s removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Bilirakis responded saying that there was a need to engage with American victims of terror attacks and compensation being provided.
– African News Agency