US sends first ambassador to Sudan in 25 years

US sends first ambassador to Sudan in 25 years
John Godfrey has arrived in Sudan as the first ambassador for 25 years, amid political unrest and economic crisis in the country.
2 min read
25 August, 2022
Sudan has witnessed regular protests since General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan launched a coup last October [AFP via Getty]

The first American ambassador to Sudan to be appointed in 25 years has arrived in Khartoum.

John Godfrey said in a tweet on Wednesday that he was "delighted" to arrive in the east African nation.

"I look forward to deepening relations between Americans and Sudanese and to supporting the Sudanese people’s aspirations to freedom, peace, justice, and a transition to democracy," the new envoy added.

Godfrey was confirmed by the US Senate as ambassador to Sudan last month. The career foreign service official has worked on countries across the Middle East and North Africa region, including Libya and Syria, and in counter-terrorism.

His arrival in Sudan comes as the country suffers severe economic troubles and witnesses the launch of an initiative backed by the country's de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to end its political crisis.

General Burhan led a coup last October that ousted a civilian-led transitional government. Frequent protests calling for an end to military rule have been met by brutal violence from Burhan's forces, who have killed dozens of protesters.

Relations between Sudan and the US broke down after Omar al-Bashir came to power in 1989. The US designated Sudan as a sponsor of state terrorism in 1993, and suspended US embassy operations in 1996.

Washington reopened its Khartoum embassy in 2002, but with limited staff and no ambassador.

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Ties between the countries have been warming since Bashir was ousted from power in April 2019 in a revolution, after which a transitional military-led administration was installed. 

The two countries announced plans to exchange ambassadors later that year, and the US removed Sudan from its sponsors of state terrorism list in 2020.

However, relations between Sudan and the US have been somewhat strained since Burhan's October 2021 coup against the civilian government of Prime Minister Abdulla Hamdok, which Washington said was a "betrayal" of the revolution and could "derail" democracy.

In recent months, the US has suspended aid that it had promised Sudan, and warned American companies against doing business with the Sudanese government.