The first U.S. ambassador to Sudan in 25 years has vowed to support the country’s transition to civilian rule. John Godfrey spoke while presenting his credentials Thursday to Sudan’s military-led government.
Godfrey presented his credential documents as the new U.S. ambassador to Sudan in a ceremony at Sudan’s presidential palace.
The document was presented to Sudan’s military leader, Abdul Fattah Al-Burhan, who led the coup against the civilian government in October last year.
Al-Burhan, the chairman of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council, welcomed the return of a U.S. ambassador to Sudan after a 25-year absence.
He stressed the importance of developing relations between Khartoum and Washington and said he hoped Godfrey’s appointment represents a new impetus for the two countries’ relationship.
Speaking to reporters in Arabic after the diplomatic ceremony, Godfrey expressed the commitment of the U.S. to build new relations with Sudan.
In Arabic, Godfrey said, “I am so happy to be the new ambassador of the United States in Sudan after more than 25 years. I am happy to have this opportunity to work in Sudan and get to understand its people and their cultures more closely.”
Godfrey was named by the White House as the new ambassador to Sudan in early January. The U.S. Congress approved his appointment in July, and he arrived in Khartoum last week to assume his post.
Ties between the United States and Sudan were severely strained under the three-decade rule of ousted President Omar al-Bashir, with Washington slapping crippling economic sanctions on Khartoum.
The U.S. government blacklisted Sudan in 1993 as a state sponsor of terrorism because the Bashir administration hosted al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden, who resided in the country between 1992 and 1996.
The ambassador’s arrival comes as Sudan reels from deepening unrest and a sinking economy.
Godfrey said the U.S government hopes to see an inclusive civilian-led government restored in Sudan to complete the remaining transitional period.
“We expect to see the establishment of a new government led by civilians in Sudan within a comprehensive dialogue that supports all Sudanese political parties,” he said, “including the democratic supporting forces.”
Godfrey previously worked as the acting special envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
He also formerly worked as the acting deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.