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Sudan: Finance minister calls for international aid

Sudanese Finance Minister Gibril Ibrahim in an interview with AFP   -  
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One of the few working ministers in Sudan's overthrown government believes senior politicians detained during last month's military coup would soon be freed.

The Finance Minister Gibril Ibrahim called for continued international support for Sudan's transition to democracy.

"The policies of countries towards Sudan should not be just linked to a person - Gibril, or (Prime Minister Abdalla) Hamdok or (military leader Abdel-Fattah Burhan) or anybody. It should be rather linked to the policy, to policies and if we are moving towards democracy, moving towards a civilian government, towards elections, then the international community should continue supporting the reform."

Last month, Sudan's top military leader General Abdel-Fattah Burhan dissolved the government and transitional council arresting many political leaders and activists, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who is currently under house arrest.

Ibrahim has kept his position as part of the Juba Peace Agreement and will be part of the new government when its announced.

The coup has drawn international criticism, and driven massive protests in the streets of Khartoum and elsewhere in the country.

At least 23 protesters were killed since Oct. 25, according to the Sudanese Doctors Committee.

Ibrahim said many of those detained will be released soon, "starting with the prime minister."

"I expect that all political detainees will be free very soon, that's if the military honours its own word," he said.

Sudan was in the middle of a fragile transitional period that saw the ouster of long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government.

But economic issues have plagued the transitional government as it tries to reform a struggling economy.

Longtime US sanctions have also excluded the country from the world economy. The sanctions were lifted last year and hopes increased for an influx of foreign investment.

But the Oct. 25 military takeover has halted all aid. The United States suspended $700 million (618.6 million Euros) in direct financial assistance and the World Bank suspended aid of up to $2 billion (1.8 billion Euros). Mediation efforts are ongoing with top US diplomat Molly Phee visiting Khartoum.

But Burhan is moving ahead announcing a new transitional council last week and should announce technocrat government soon. It is still not known whether Hamdok will agree to be a part of the new government.

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