UK condemns military coup in Sudan as ‘betrayal’ of the country’s people

Foreign Office minister Vicky Ford said the UK has been a firm supporter of the democratic transition in Sudan since the 2019 revolution.

The Foreign Office in central London (Clive Gee/PA)
The Foreign Office in central London (Clive Gee/PA)

Britain has accused Sudan’s military of having “betrayed all the people of Sudan” after it arrested the country’s prime minister and seized power.

Foreign Office minister Vicky Ford said the UK “most strongly condemns” the arrests of civilian members of Sudan’s transitional government by the military.

She added: “We’re also deeply concerned by reports of shooting of protesters. This must stop.”

Thousand of people poured into the streets of the capital Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman following the early morning arrests of prime minister Abdalla Hamdok and other officials.

Vicky Ford (House of Commons/PA)
Vicky Ford (House of Commons/PA)

The Sudan Doctors’ Committee reported the deaths of two protesters along with tens of injuries after security forces were said to have opened fire on some of the crowds.

Responding to an urgent question in the House of Commons, Ms Ford said the UK has been a firm supporter of the democratic transition in Sudan since the 2019 revolution.

She added: “The acts of the military today represent an unacceptable betrayal of the Sudanese people and their journey to democracy.”

Ms Ford said she was in Khartoum last week and had stressed the need for all parties to support the civilian-led government.

She also highlighted the “vital role” of women and girls in the country’s future, adding: “The UK stands with them.

“The military’s actions today have betrayed all the people of Sudan but especially the women and girls.”

Shadow foreign affairs minister Stephen Doughty pressed Ms Ford on the Government’s decision to cut spending on foreign aid, as he argued that as a consequence of that, Britain might not be able to help Sudanese people or have any influence in the country’s internal affairs.

He said: “Does she also regret the decision of the Chancellor, Prime Minister and the last foreign secretary to slash our support to Sudan, as with much of Africa, at such a fragile and critical time?

“Over 50% of our budget was cut in the last year from £142 to £62 million.

“That risks our own influence, let alone our ability to help the Sudanese people who will face the consequences of these terrible events.”

Ms Ford reiterated the UK does stand by the people of Sudan, adding: “We have been a leading donor to humanitarian aid in Sudan.

“It is already the fifth largest humanitarian crisis in the world, and the actions of the military do not change the urgent need for assistance and ordinary Sudanese people must not suffer as a result.”

She added: “Regarding financial support, we have invested £150 million in Sudan since the revolution, including £80 million to the Sudan Family Support Programme.”

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