U.S. tells Sudan that deal to reinstate PM Hamdok is only 'first step' -State Department

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U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price holds a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, U.S., August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/POOL/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, Nov 22 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday told Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan that an agreement to reinstate Hamdok was only a "first step" in restoring Sudan's democratic transition, according to a spokesperson.

Hamdok was restored to his post on Sunday. He had been detained following the Oct. 25 military takeover. First appointed after the overthrow of autocrat Omar al-Bashir in a 2019 uprising, Hamdok will lead a civilian government of technocrats for a transitional period.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Blinken called on the two Sudanese leaders to build on the "first step" of the agreement and continue the transition that was interrupted by the coup.

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Blinken's message was that, "We must continue to see progress, we must continue to see Sudan move back down the democratic path, and that starts with the reinstitution of the Prime Minister but it certainly doesn't end there," Price told reporters.

Price called on Sudan's leaders to release all civilian leaders and others and lift a state of emergency.

Sudan's military promised to release all political detainees after weeks of deadly disturbances triggered by the coup, although large crowds took to the streets to reject any deal involving the army.

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Reporting by Simon Lewis; Writing by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Chris Reese and Grant McCool

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