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US names new envoy to Sudan as political crisis continues

Donald Booth previously served as US special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan from 2013 to 2017
Sudan's army carried out deadly crackdown on protesters in Khartoum this month (Reuters/File photo)

The United States appointed a new envoy to Sudan, as the country's political crisis continues, following a deadly military crackdown on protesters.

Veteran diplomat Donald Booth will take up the position, the US State Department announced on Wednesday.

Booth will work to help reach a "peaceful political solution" between Sudan's military and opposition leaders, who have been unable to reach an agreement over the country's political transition.

Booth's appointment comes after the Sudanese army carried out a deadly crackdown on a sit-in protest across from the military headquarters in the capital.

At least 112 people were killed in the violence and many others were injured.

On Wednesday, the Sudanese Doctors' Syndicate released a list of 100 names of people who were killed since the sit-in was dispersed.

Mediation efforts ongoing

Efforts to mediate between Sudan's military and opposition leaders have so far garnered few positive results, as talks between the two sides collapsed following the army's deadly crackdown in Khartoum.

On 7 June, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed flew to Khartoum in an attempt to reach a political solution.

Earlier this week, the country's special envoy to Sudan said the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) and Sudanese opposition leaders had "agreed to resume talks soon".

But Mahmoud Dirir did not say when those negotiations were set to start up again.

The TMC has been in power since it deposed long-time Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in April, following months of widespread protests against his rule.

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Sudanese opposition leaders have since called for the army to allow a civilian-led interim body to govern the country.

They have also called on the TMC to take responsibility for the deaths of the protesters, as well as agree to launch an independent investigation into what happened.

Booth's appointment on Wednesday also coincides with a visit to Sudan by the State Department's assistant secretary for African affairs, Tibor Nagy.

Nagy was sent to Khartoum to "call for a cessation of attacks against civilians and urge parties to work toward creating an enabling environment ... for talks to resume" between the TMC and opposition leaders, the State Department said.

Booth served as Barack Obama's special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan from 2013 to 2017.

Before that, he was the US ambassador to Zambia and Liberia, respectively.