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U.S., UK, Norway urge end to blockades in eastern Sudan

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By Reuters

WASHINGTON – The United States, United Kingdom and Norway on Friday called for an end to blockades of port and transportation infrastructure in eastern Sudan.

The so-called Troika countries in a joint statement backed the civilian-led transitional government in urging political talks to resolve protests in the east that they said risk damaging Sudan’s economy and its people.

“Political leaders in eastern Sudan should take up their government’s offer to address their grievances through meaningful political dialogue rather than engaging in action that serves only to harm the nation’s economy,” the statement said.

Members of eastern Sudan’s Beja tribes have blocked roads and forced Red Sea ports to close in recent weeks in protest at what they say is the region’s lack of political power and its poor economic conditions.

Sudan is about to run out of essential medicine, fuel and wheat after political protests forced the closure of Port Sudan, the main port in the east of the country, the cabinet said on Sunday.

“While recognising that this is an internal issue, the Troika urges the international community to support fully the efforts of the Sudanese government to resolve this matter and to end the ongoing blockades,” their statement said.

The governments of the United States, United Kingdom and Norway signed the 2020 Juba peace agreement in a signal of political support for the deal, which was regarded as a breakthrough in a conflict that pitted pro-government militias and troops against mostly non-Arab rebels.