The United States announced new sanctions on Thursday on two Sudanese military factions and on companies linked to both sides, which have been fueling a war that has killed hundreds of people in Africa’s third-largest nation.
Sudan’s military, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has been fighting the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, led by Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan, since April 15 in a sprawling conflict that has devastated the capital, Khartoum, and displaced at least one million people.
The sanctions came a day after Sudan’s military pulled out of peace talks in the Saudi city of Jeddah, led by American and Saudi diplomats, that aimed to stop the fighting and allow humanitarian access in a country where 25 million of the country’s 46 million people urgently need help, according to the United Nations.
The Biden administration denied that the sanctions were a reaction to the collapse of those talks. But the move seemed to signal a growing international impatience with the rival military parties, whose feud has sent Sudanese refugees pouring into neighboring countries and stoked fears of a wider regional conflict.
The sanctions include visa restrictions on officials from both the Sudanese Armed Forces, and the Rapid Support Forces. American officials did not name the individuals facing the restrictions.
More crucially, the Treasury Department put two major weapons companies affiliated with the Sudanese Armed Forces and General al-Burhan — Defense Industries System and Sudan Master Technology, on its blacklist, barring Americans from doing business with them. It also put sanctions on Al Junaid, a gold mining company controlled by General Hamdan’s family, and Tradive, a Rapid Support Forces-controlled company based in the United Arab Emirates that the paramilitary group has used to procure weapons.
A senior U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity during a teleconference call with reporters, said the Biden administration would work with countries where the four companies operate to ensure compliance with the sanctions.
The White House signaled that sanctions were coming when President Biden last month issued an executive order expanding authorities to respond to the violence in Sudan.
The senior U.S. official said American diplomacy on Sudan is focused on obtaining a ceasefire, but added that the ultimate goal is to get the country back on a path to civilian rule. The official said that representatives from both sides continue to meet privately in Saudi Arabia, even as the military has formally pulled out of talks.
Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, stressed the dire ramifications of the sustained fighting.
“Despite a cease-fire agreement, senseless violence has continued across the country — hindering the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and hurting those who need it most,” he said in a statement. “The scope and scale of the bloodshed in Khartoum and Darfur, in particular, is appalling.”
The State Department also put visa restrictions on officials affiliated with former dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who was deposed in 2019 after three decades in power.
Before turning on each other in April, the two generals had joined forces 20 months ago and seized power in a coup, derailing a revolution that had seen the ouster of Mr. Bashir.
After the military coup in October 2021, the United States froze $700 million in direct assistance to Sudan’s government and suspended debt relief. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund froze $6 billion in immediate assistance and plans to forgive $50 billion of debt. Other governments and institutions, including the African Development Bank, took similar steps.