The announcement came after three protesters were killed by Sudanese security forces during anti-coup demonstrations near the capital Sunday, the civilian-allied Sudanese Central Doctors Committee (SCDC) said.
Various news agencies and social media videos showed groups of demonstrators running through plumes of white tear gas smoke and dispersing from the sound of purported gunfire.
The demonstrations followed internet and mobile phone network outages.
Sunday’s protests in Omdurman, about 25 kilometers (16 miles) northwest of Khartoum, were the 14th day of mass demonstrations against military rule since the October 25 coup. At least 57 people have been killed by security forces since, the SCDC reported.
“We had hoped 2021 would offer the opportunity to partner with a democratizing Sudan, but the military’s seizure of power in October and violence against peaceful protesters have cast doubt on that future,” Blinken said in the statement.
“We do not want to return to the past and are prepared to respond to those who seek to block the aspirations of the Sudanese people for a civilian-led, democratic government and who would stand in the way of accountability, justice, and peace.”
Blinken demanded security forces “immediately cease the use of deadly force against protesters” and deliver justice to those responsible for human rights violations.
Sudan’s descent into crisis
Sudan had been ruled by an uneasy alliance between the military and civilian groups since 2019. But in October, the military effectively took control, dissolving the power-sharing Sovereign Council and transitional government, and temporarily detaining Hamdok, the prime minister.
The country’s military chief, Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, reinstated Hamdok in November as part of a deal between the military and civilian leadership.
Under the deal agreed by Hamdok and Al-Burhan, Hamdok would again become leader of the transitional government, which was first established after strongman President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in 2019.
The Council of Ministers, which was dissolved October 25, was to be restored and the civilian and military leadership would share power. The constitution would be amended to outline the partnership between civilians and the military in the transitional government.
But the agreement also included unspecified restructuring, according to Mudawi Ibrahim, a prominent official in the National Forces Initiative (NFI), which helped mediate the talks, and it has been met with resistance in Sudan.
Citizens protesting the military rule have been met with brutality, and media outlets have faced violent efforts to halt their coverage of the events.
Authorities raided the offices of Saudi broadcaster al-Arabiya and its sister outlet al-Hadath, confiscating equipment and assaulting the staff in Khartoum on Thursday, al-Arabiya said in a series of tweets.
CNN’s Kareem Khadder and Celine Alkhaldi contributed to this report.