Sudan: Department Press Briefing – May 23, 2023

QUESTION: Thanks. I know lots of us are concerned about Evan. But let me move to another topic, Sudan.


QUESTION: The ceasefire that is supposed to have taken place, that did come into force. What’s your assessment of whether it’s holding and where things stand right now?

MR MILLER: So today in Jeddah, representatives of the Ceasefire Monitoring Coordination Committee that we announced over the weekend engaged in discussions on humanitarian assistance deliveries. And they also had discussions with their respective chain of command, so that would be the Saudi officials on that group discussing it with the officials in the Saudi Government, Ambassador Godfrey, who leads our representation on the Monitoring Committee having conversations with officials in our government.

Regarding allegations of ceasefire violations, we’ve obviously seen the reports. The officials on the Monitoring Mechanism are looking into those reports and continuing to monitor, and we have the ability to, when we see violations of the ceasefire, make those known publicly as well as engaged with direct – directly with both sides to the conflict.

QUESTION: Can I just pursue that?


QUESTION: You said the Monitoring Mechanism, and of course the Secretary spoke to that as well. How do you see that coming – how do you see that working? I mean, do you think that’s going to have a shaping effect, if you will, to reduce the violations? Is this just more of a reporting mechanism? How do you see that going?

MR MILLER: So what I’d say is the Monitoring Mechanism is made up of 12 individuals: three officials from the U.S. Government – Ambassador Godfrey is our lead and there will be two other officials as well; three officials from the Saudi Government; as well as three officials each from the SAF and the RSF.

The way we see the Monitoring Mechanism is – and what it can achieve is a couple of different things: one, to identify violations of the ceasefire; two, to publicly hold accountable the parties for the violations of the ceasefire; and then three, so we have evidence that we can use to privately press the parties. We have had conversations at a number of levels inside this department, both with the top generals and other officials in the SAF and the RSF from the beginning of this conflict, and we’ll continue to do that to press them to stop the violence when we see violations of the ceasefire, and also to have conversations with our partners in the region.

And then the last thing I will add is that we do have additional tools available to us and we will not hesitate to use those tools if and when it’s appropriate to do so.

QUESTION: So how —

QUESTION: Go ahead, go ahead.

QUESTION: How do you hold the violators accountable? How will you do that? I know you said you have some tools and so on.

MR MILLER: I don’t want to preview any specific action. Obviously, this is a – continues to be a very delicate situation, where we are involved in intense diplomatic conversations both directly with the two parties and with partners in the region. But we have a number of tools available to us. We – and we will not hesitate to use those tools if and when it’s appropriate to do so.

Anything else on Sudan before I – Sudan? Yeah, go ahead.

QUESTION: You announced the 245 million towards humanitarian aid for civilians today. But since there’s not a civilian government in place, how exactly is that going to be distributed?

MR MILLER: So let me note, first of all, that the United States remains the largest single donor of humanitarian assistance in Sudan and we will continue our support for the vulnerable population in Sudan.

The assistance that we announced today is not just for people in Sudan but for neighboring countries that are experiencing the impacts of the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Specifically with respect to how that will be distributed, it will be distributed through the State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration, as well as additional humanitarian assistance from USAID.

So we have the ability to directly provide humanitarian assistance and then also engage with multilateral organizations in the region.

QUESTION: — of Africa. Pearl with Premium Times Nigeria. Matt, I have three questions to pose to you. My first question is the White House did announce the presidential delegation that will be going to President-elect Tinubu’s inauguration over the – from May 29. What do you say to the population of Nigeria who might view now the U.S. sort of embrace of Tinubu, whereas at the same time you have kind of indicated that the elections may not have been free, fair, and credible – yet there seems to be this embrace of Tinubu. So if you could share something on that, that would be great.

The second question I have for you is Africa Day is in two days, May 25, and in the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa and its keenness to engage and deepen relationships and partnerships there – what message do you have as we head into Africa Day when millions are still facing instability, conflict, and other things?

Third, I saw the humanitarian assistance that you announced today for Sudan and neighboring countries – Chad and others. Do you have a breakdown there on those countries? And is it going to be limited to those – why – I mean, I may understand Egypt, but Egypt already received a – receives a disproportionally huge amount of assistance from the United States. Could you share the motivation and thinking behind that? Thanks.

MR MILLER: So let me say, first of all, thank you for the question, and likewise I look forward to taking your questions, especially when you ask me difficult three partners that – three part-ers that challenge my ability to even remember all the questions, let alone answer them.

To take them in order or attempt to take them order, let me say first, with respect to Nigeria, we did take steps last week in support of the democratic process in Nigeria to impose visa restrictions on individuals believed to be responsible for or complicit in undermining the democratic process in the country. That said, those steps that were specific to certain individuals and certain individuals alone and were not directed to the Nigerian people or the Government of Nigeria as a whole. As we made clear – as I think we read out last week, the Secretary just had a call with his counterpart in the Nigerian Government, and we look forward to continuing to cooperate with them on issues of shared concern.