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Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok said, on Monday, that preserving the economic gains achieved during the past two years was among the reasons that prompted him to return to his position, under an agreement with the army, about a month after his dismissal in a coup.

In an interview at the residence in Khartoum where he was under house arrest in Jabriya following the October 25 military coup, Hamdok said he believed the technocratic government he was expected to appoint would have an opportunity to improve living standards.

Prominent political parties and Sudan’s powerful protest movement opposed Hamdok’s decision to sign the agreement with the army on Sunday, with some calling it treason or saying it provided political cover for the coup.

“Among the reasons for my return is to preserve economic gains and economic openness to the world,” Hamdok said.

Since Hamdok was first appointed prime minister in 2019 under a power-sharing deal after the ouster of Omar al-Bashir, Sudan has implemented economic reforms including lifting fuel subsidies and an orderly float of its currency.

The reforms, which are monitored by the International Monetary Fund, won Sudan’s agreement to forgive most of its foreign debt of more than $50 billion – a deal that the coup has questioned.

The World Bank and some bilateral donors temporarily suspended much-needed economic assistance after the military seized power.

“We will continue our contacts with international financial institutions, and the new budget that will start in January will go on the path of economic reform and open the way for investment in Sudan,” Hamdok said.

The Civil Alliance, which shared power with the military before the coup, and its former ministers said they rejected the deal, citing a violent crackdown on anti-military protests over the past month.

But Hamdok said a new technocratic government could help improve Sudan’s economy, which has suffered from a protracted crisis that includes one of the world’s highest inflation rates and shortages of basic goods.

Hamdok said the government may also work to complete a peace agreement signed with some rebel groups last year to end years of internal conflict.

“The implementation of the Juba Agreement and the completion of peace processes with the groups that did not sign the Juba Agreement are at the top of the agenda of the new government,” he said.

After the deal between the army and Hamdok was announced on Sunday, protesters who had previously defended Hamdok began chanting slogans against him. Hamdok said he signed it to prevent further bloodshed.

“We are committed to the democratic path, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and greater openness to the world,” he said on Monday.

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