- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The State Department, facing pressure to address a growing political crisis in Sudan, announced Wednesday that veteran diplomat Donald Booth has been named a special adviser focused on the troubled northeast African state.

Sudan has been in turmoil since the ouster of longtime authoritarian President Omar al-Bashir in April. Sudan’s military has clashed with civilian protesters over the pace and scale of a transition to democratic rule. The military violently shut down a major sit-in demonstration last week that reportedly left more than 100 people dead.

With the United Nations and regional powers rushing to contain the crisis, the Trump administration had faced criticism for failing to weigh in.

“There’s no leadership on this issue [at the State Department] or the White House,” a U.S. official involved in deliberations, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the website Foreign Policy.com.

Mr. Booth served as special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan under the Obama administration, helping mediate the August 2015 peace agreement and a yearlong decrease in conflict. Ultimately, Mr. Booth’s work in Sudan led to the U.S.’s decision to lift decades-old sanctions on Sudan.

Mr. Booth has broad experience in Africa, having served as ambassador to Ethiopia, Zambia and Liberia. Additionally, Mr. Booth has served as director of the State Department’s Office of West African Affairs and deputy director of the Office of Southern African Affairs.

The Trump administration has faced pressure from Congress to do more about the current Sudan crisis and support efforts by civilian leaders to move toward democratic rule.

“It is crucial that the United States work to promote a peaceful transfer of power to the Sudanese people, who deserve self-determination and freedom,” said House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat.

After a week of violence, the situation on the streets of Sudan was reportedly calmer Wednesday, with the Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, representing the protesters’ demand for civilian rule, advising Sudanese citizens to return to work. Activists called off protests and a civil disobedience campaign and many businesses were reopening, The Associated Press reported.

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