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Sudan suspended from African Union with ‘immediate effect’ after coup

The African Union announced on Wednesday that it had suspended Sudan's membership in the 55-member continental body after a military coup toppled the country's transitional government.

The African Union announced on Wednesday that it had suspended Sudan‘s membership in the 55-member continental body after a military coup toppled the country’s transitional government.

The suspension had gone into “immediate effect” and barred Sudan from all AU activities “until the effective restoration of the civilian-led Transitional Authority,” the AU’s Peace and Security Council said in a statement.

Both the US and EU have urgently requested a meeting with deposed Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, who was returned to his home by the military on Wednesday under heavy guard, according to his staff.

The whereabouts of Hamdok had been unknown since his detention during Monday’s military coup until the leader of the coup, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said on Tuesday that the prime minister had been held temporarily at the general’s home “for his own safety.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Hamdok after his release, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

“The secretary welcomed the prime minister’s release from custody and reiterated his call on Sudanese military forces to release all civilian leaders in detention and to ensure their safety,” Price said in a statement.

In a joint statement released by the US and EU embassies in Sudan on Wednesday, diplomats said: “It is paramount for the ambassadors based in Khartoum to be able to communicate with the prime minister.”

Repeating calls for unhindered humanitarian access to Sudan during the political turmoil, the joint statement called on security forces and other armed elements to “refrain from violent attacks” and for peaceful protestors to be protected.

The US and EU said they “continue to recognize the prime minister and his cabinet as the constitutional leaders of the transitional government.”

Earlier on Wednesday the EU threatened to suspend aid payments to the country, while the United States has already paused aid worth 700 million dollars to Sudan. The World Bank also said it was freezing payments.

The military coup on Monday came after many weeks of protests and political crisis in the East African country.

Hamdok had led a transitional government together with military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan since August 2019 after Omar al-Bashir, Sudan‘s strongman leader for 30 years, was removed from power in a separate coup following months of mass protest.

The next elections are now to be held in 2023, according to al-Burhan, who has claimed the coup was necessary for Sudan to avoid descending into civil war.

Prices for food and fuel have skyrocketed in recent months and there have been repeated protests demanding political and economic reforms, as well as the withdrawal of the military from the government.

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