US issues first tranche of Sudan sanctions after talks collapse

The US announced on Thursday an initial wave of sanctions targeting actors in Sudan after talks between the Sudanese military and a rival paramilitary force collapsed.

The penalties come less than a month after President Joe Biden announced expanded authorities that opened the door to the US imposing sanctions on entities in Sudan in what marked a warning to the warring parties there.

"Today, we are following through by levying economic sanctions, imposing visa restrictions against actors who are perpetuating the violence, and releasing an updated Business Advisory on Sudan," National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

"The ongoing fighting in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces is a tragedy that has already stolen far too many lives—it must end," he added.

The penalties include both economic and visa sanctions, and are being imposed in response to ongoing violations of obligations made by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group during US and Saudi-mediated negotiations in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The State Department is blacklisting individuals associated with the SAF, RSF and former leaders under longtime strongman Omar al-Bashir's administration, denying them the ability to attain US visas. As a matter of policy, the department does not publicly discuss individual visa matters.

A seven-day cease-fire brokered by Saudi Arabia and the US between the two sides expired Monday. The conflicting rivals agreed to extend the agreement for five more days, but peace talks broke down Wednesday when the SAF announced its withdrawal, claiming the RSF failed to implement "any of the terms of the agreement and its continuous violation of the cease-fire."

The decision came as fierce clashes erupted between the military and RSF fighters in the national capital of Khartoum and El-Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan state.

The Treasury Department is separately sanctioning four Sudanese companies alleged to be aiding the SAF and RSF. They include Defense Industries System (DIS), Sudan's largest military enterprise with an estimated $2 billion in revenue, and Sudan Master Technology, an arms company with shares in multiple DIS subsidiaries.

Al Junaid Multi Activities, a holding company tied to RSF Commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and his brother, RSF Deputy Commander Abdul Rahim Dagalo; and Tradive General Trading, a front company controlled by RSF Major Algoney Hamdan Dagalo, are also being designated.

"Through sanctions, we are cutting off key financial flows to both the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Armed Forces, depriving them of resources needed to pay soldiers, rearm, resupply, and wage war in Sudan," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.

The State, Treasury, Commerce, and Labor Department, as well as the US Agency for International Development issued a joint business advisory warning US firms of the growing risks of conducting business in Sudan. The advisory warns explicitly of the dangers of trade in the mining sector, and business with the RSF and SAF.

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