Tag Archives: Sudan

Borrell: EU ready to assist Sudan

“…I would like to start by paying tribute to the Sudanese people: women and youth in particular, who fought for peaceful change and for the ideals of freedom, peace and justice” said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell at Sudan Partnership Conference.

“During my visit to Sudan last February, engaging with members of the civil society and students at Khartoum University, I was struck by their resilience, aspirations and determination.
It is thanks to their efforts and sacrifices that we are facing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring Sudan back on track in terms of peace, democratic governance and economic recovery.

“Sudan is today a light of hope in Africa and the transition process towards a fully democratic dispensation needs to be strongly supported and carefully nourished. We cannot fail the Sudanese people.

“I want to acknowledge the leadership of Prime Minister [of Sudan, Abdalla] Hamdok. All actors and political forces should align themselves in support of the Prime Minister. I call on the military to protect and support the transition. I call on the armed groups not to miss this opportunity to be part of the new Sudan, I call the Forces For Freedom and Change to maintain unity and cohesion on the road to reforms and elections.

“This, altogether, should allow for the swift establishment of the Transitional Legislative Council and the appointment of civilian state governors, as strong democratic institutions are key to any political transition.

“There have been many important legal reforms already achieved such as the criminalization of Female Genital Mutilation. But despite the difficult context, further exacerbated by the pandemic, political reforms need to continue.

“This is why the European Union – besides our support to the Office of the Prime Minister– will also become the main donor to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Sudan to ensure that the Government has the necessary tools and capacity to advance with the political reform agenda. The European Union also stands ready to assist Sudan with the upcoming elections.

“The economic track also needs to deliver. Unhappily, we have seen too often in the past how political transitions have been undermined by the lack of economic deliverables and dividends of the peace brought to the population. Whenever transitions have failed, the bill for the international community has been finally considerably higher. Thus, supporting Sudan’s transition here and now –because now is the time to do so- is not only an expression of solidarity, but an investment which is worth making for Sudan, for stability and development in the region, from Libya to the Central African Republic, from Egypt to Ethiopia, in order to set a reference for the world.

“In the run-up to this conference, we have been encouraged by the commitment of the international community at large to help Sudan at such critical juncture.
I call on all partners to work together to allow Sudan’s transformation and its reintegration in the international financial system. Our presence today will show -I hope- our collective determination from Europe to the Gulf, from North America to Asia.

“From our part, the European Union will be putting forward a sizeable pledge as a continuation of our strong support to the transition and commitment to improving the lives of the Sudanese population”.

EU co-hosts conference on Sudan

On Thursday 25 June 2020, Sudan, the European Union, the United Nations and Germany will co-host a virtual High-level international conference. Around 50 countries and international organisations will take part in the Conference. While the Sudanese Government commits itself to carry the 2019 revolution reforms forward, almost 50 countries and international organisations are offering Sudan a partnership to support the country throughout the political transition up to the elections in 2022.

This Conference will be the opportunity to reiterate the strong political support of the international community to the ongoing transition in Sudan.

It will also aim at mobilising financial support for the democratic transition, economic recovery and humanitarian needs, as the coronavirus pandemic added another strain to the country’s economic situation and increased the humanitarian needs. The conference will also provide a platform for the country’s authorities to present the reforms undertaken so far. The goal is to also raise enough funds to kick-start a social protection programme by the World Bank and the Sudanese Government that helps Sudanese families in need. The partners will also support the International Monetary Fund to open up Sudan’s road towards debt relief.

The conference will start at 15:00 with an opening panel discussion with the participation of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission Josep Borrell Fontelles, his co-chairs Abdalla Hamdok, Prime Minister of the Republic of Sudan, Heiko Maas, Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, and António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations. They will discuss the reforms and steps undertaken since last August by the Transitional Government as well as the way forward.

There will be a pledging round during which the EU pledge will be delivered by Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, and Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič.

Between the pledges, the Sudanese Reform Agenda will be discussed with the Sudanese Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Ibrahim El-Badawi, Sudanese Minister of Labour Lena el-Sheikh Mahjoub and representatives of the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Last year, the world watched in admiration as hundreds of thousands of Sudanese men and women took to the streets to peacefully demand change in one of the world’s most brutal dictatorships. As months of protests led to the fall of President Omar al-Bashir’s regime and the first civilian Government in over 30 years, the Sudanese people showed the world that peaceful change is possible.

Darfur: Sudan willing ICC trials

Sudan government said it was willing to discuss trials for people wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), a group that includes ousted leader Omar al-Bashir, Bloomberg Africa reports.

The Information Ministry on June 10 also welcomed the detention in neighboring Central African Republic  (CAR) of Ali Muhammad Ali Abdi-Al-Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb, who’d been indicted on war-crimes charges for his role in the Darfur conflict in 2003 and 2004.

In February the Transitional government of Sudan said that all ICC suspects would appear before the Court as a condition of a peace deal that’s being negotiated with rebels. Authorities haven’t clarified whether this would mean they would be transported to the Hague or standing trial remotely.

Al-Bashir $4bn assets confiscated

Following the investigation, Sudan has confiscated assets valued at $4 billion from former President Omar al-Bashir, his family members and associates, the country’s anti-corruption body said.

“Our initial estimates of the value of the assets, shares in different companies and buildings we have confiscated is $3.5 billion to $4 billion,” Salah Manaa, a spokesperson for the Anti-Corruption and Regime Dismantling Committee, said in response to questions. The body was set up late last year.

Bashir, who was overthrown by the army in a coup a year ago amid mass protests against his three-decade rule, was jailed in December after being found guilty of illicitly possessing millions of dollars in foreign currencies.

The oust leader has also been indicted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity committed in the western region of Darfur.

Borrell encourages Millenium dam negociated solution

The dispute between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt over exploitation of the Millenium Dam is a “matter of stablity” in the region, said the top EU diplomat Josep Borrell while commenting on the situation developing this week in the Horn of Africa.

“… We are following closely the talks, which were facilitated by the United States, and we regret they were not able to solve, or bring any kind of solution, but there are talks facilitated by the United States, and we are not part of this facilitating activity.

“We would be happy to participate if we are called for, but it is not the case, but we are ready to contribute to appease the situation, and to find a pragmatic solution”.

“I have been talking last week with all parties”, – Borrell continued. “And I strongly encourage them to continue the commonly agreed way forward”.

The diplomacy chief also announced plans to organise EU-Sudan partnership conference in Brussels together with Germany, the United Nations on June 22.

“It will be an opportunity for the international community to recall and renew their support to the ongoing political transition in Sudan” Borrell continued, expressing hope that there would be also “concrete pledges”.

Ethiopia Millenium Dam causes tensions

Government of Sudan rejected Ethiopia’s proposal to sign an initial agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and now expressed readiness to resume U.S.-led talks on the project.

According to a statement on May 12, Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok sent a letter to his Ethiopian counterpart Abiy Ahmed disapproving of an Addis Ababa proposal on an agreement over the dam’s first filling water, which is a crucial issue for agriculture in Sudan and Egypt, risking to lose up to 50% of arable land due to lack of irrigation.

Any signing of a partial agreement for the first filling could not be approved due to “technical and legal aspects that should be included in the agreement,” Hamdok said.

The agreement must incorporate a mechanism of coordination, an exchange of information and the safety of the dam and its environmental and social impacts, he insisted.

Prime minister of Sudan stressed that the path to reach a comprehensive agreement is an immediate resumption of negotiations which he underlined experienced a significant progress in the last four months.

Sudan believes that the current circumstances do not allow for talks through normal diplomatic channels, he said, in reference to the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that teleconferences are suitable means to complete negotiations and agree on outstanding issues.

Lead Sudanese negotiator Saleh Hamad said that most of the issues being negotiated are inextricably linked, not only to the first filling but to all phases of filling.

The statement on May 12 comes a day after Ethiopia announced it is to start filling its mega-dam in July, despite opposition from Egypt and Sudan as they stand by a 2015 declaration that stipulates an agreement on the guidelines governing the filling and annual operation of the dam should be reached.

Director of the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies Khaled Okasha said the Sudanese move brings the matter to its proper path, which relies on cooperation and negotiation.

Mr.Okasha explained that Ethiopia took advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to cancel all agreements, and according to point zero it was announced through its “populist” mechanisms that it pursued from the beginning.

Okasha has affirmed that the move by the Sudanese Prime Minister came after Ethiopia’s intentions to go on with the project solely without consulting with Khartoum and Cairo became clear, threatening the interests of both countries.

This is in addition to the dangers related to the safety requirements of the dam, which the Ethiopian side has been ignoring, constantly pushing for the filling stage with an aim to aid internal and political conflicts through the construction of the dam, completely disregarding the sovereignty and authentic rights of Egypt and Sudan.

He added that Ethiopia is also seeking from this to blame the issue on both Cairo and Khartoum, according to flawed and outdated Ethiopian theories that claim disagreements between Egypt and Sudan.

Okasha further stressed that the new Sudanese government is now correcting many of the faults of the previous regime, which had been performing in contradiction with the Sudanese national interests.

Neighbouring Sudan and Egypt dependent on Nile flow fear the dam will trap their essential water supplies once the giant reservoir starts being filled in July as planned.

Ethiopia hopes the massive $4.8 billion megaproject will allow it to become Africa’s largest power exporter.

The dispute is over the Millenium Dam being built on the Blue Nile. Ethiopia announced it will begin part filling it in July this year in order to test two turbines next year during the rainy season. The dam is 71% complete and when finished in 2023 will be the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa providing much needed power to the second populous country on continent with 100 million inhabitants.

The reservoir will be able to hold more than 70 billion cubic metres (bcm) of water, but Egypt says if it operates according to Ethiopian intentions, 100 million Egyptians will then be deprived of much of their lifeline – the waters of the river.

Sudan: Bashir family property confiscated

In Sudan capital Khartoum several large plots of land and residential properties will be confiscated from family members, relatives, and some close friends of ousted President Omar al-Bashir after investigation established they were acquired largely due to family connections, anti-corruption committee announced on May 7.

The Empowerment Removal Committee said it confiscated property from Bashir’s brother-in-law, nieces, nephews, and a former Defence minister, who was a close ally of al-Bashir. It transferred the ownership of the propterites, which totalled around 92,000 square meters in size to the finance ministry with new status of natonalised public property.

Separately, it also dissolved the boards of the Khartoum International Airport Company and the Sudan Airports Holding Company over a range of accusations, mainly corruption.

The committee was charged by the attorney general with dismantling the system built by long-term ruler Bashir authority after his ouster in April last year. It is in charge of investigations into crimes involving public funds and corruption by the former president and members of his extended family and allies.

Bashir, who has been jailed in Khartoum since he was toppled following mass protests after his 30-year authoritarian rule, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in the Darfur region.

A Sudanese court handed Bashir a first, two-year sentence in December on corruption charges. He also faces trials and investigations over the killing of protesters and his role in the 1989 coup that brought him to power.

Sudan bans FGM

“The decision of Sudan to ban female genital mutilation is another historic step forward in the country. We praise the Government of Sudan in its entirety for taking this bold and historic step towards the full realisation of women’s and girls’ rights. The road towards a democratic and prosperous Sudan with equal rights and opportunities for all is long, but can only be travelled by taking steps like these. The European Union stands ready to support Sudan to implement this decision.

“The same way they led the revolution last year, Sudanese women have led the fight to end female genital mutilation (FMG) in their country and serve as an example to the world.

“World leaders have committed to eliminate FGM by 2030; today this practice remains carried out in more than 90 countries in the world. Banning or criminalizing FGM is the first step of a long process to end a practice, which in many countries is enmeshed with tradition and religious beliefs.

“The European Union is committed to promote the global trend towards banning the FGM practice and all other forms of harmful practices discriminating against women in various ways”.

Statement by High Representative/ Vice-President Josep Borrell and Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen on the ban of female genital mutilation original on Twitter inserted above.

Sudanese refugee kills two Frenchmen

A knife attack in Romans-sur-Isère (pictured) southeastern France a Soudanaise refugee has killed two people, and left several others injured. The incident took place in morning hours around 10:45 on April 4, Holy Saturday, at eve of Catholic celebration of Easter. A terror investigation is now underway suspecting deliberate premeditated action.

Five people were reported to have been wounded, and two killed one of them a man(44) who attempted to protect his wife and child (13). Minster of Interior Christophe Castaner visited the community of Romans-sur-Isère the same day.
The assailant has now been identified as Abdallah A.Osman, reported to be in his 30s, born in 1987 according to his affidavit. He is in a regular situation in France. The Ofpra – French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons – granted him refugee status on June 29, 2017, and therefore in possession of a 10-year residence permit. Presumably he did not work, but received an allocation for refugees, and social housing.

Witnesses told local press that the assailant appeared to target random pedestrians while moving around empty streets in the center of the town.
Anyone who had the misfortune to find themselves in his way were attacked,” the town’s mayor, Marie-Helene Thoraval, told AFP.

First assailant entered press-tobacco shop, attacking a man (63), and his wife, both injured, then he left his knife there and headed to a boucher’s shop, where he jumped over the desk to get a bigger knife before killing a client (55); he fled after, and started to search for new victims in the empty streets. Further he injured one more pedestrian (59) next to the supermarket, and a man (44), who opened window shutters. A man (63) and his wife (63), who were walking along the street were next victims of the attack.

Counterterrorism prosecutors have initiated a probe into “murder linked to a terrorist enterprise.”
David Olivier Reverdy, from the National Police Alliance union, said the assailant had called on the police to kill him when they came to arrest him.
He was found on his knees on the pavement praying in Arabic,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

President Emmanuel Macron has called it “an odious act“.

The national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office said that the preliminary investigation has “brought to light a determined, murderous course likely to seriously disturb public order through intimidation or terror.”
France is currently on lockdown as it battles the coronavirus pandemic. People are allowed to go grocery shopping but are encouraged to stay at least two meters (six feet) from others.

Humanitarian aid €30M to Sudan

The European Union provides €30 million in humanitarian funding for vulnerable people in Sudan to help address needs in the country.

The announcement comes as the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell, visited EU aid projects in El Fasher, North Darfur, one of the conflict-affected areas in Sudan. “The European Union continues to stand in solidarity with the people in need in Sudan. Our humanitarian assistance notably helps children get access to education, which is crucial to build a better future. In time of crisis, it is fundamental that our humanitarian partners can fully exercise their lifesaving job. We welcome the recent positive steps taken by the Sudanese transitional government to ensure this.”

“Helping those most in need is our priority. Our new aid package will provide food and nutritional assistance, shelter, emergency healthcare, access to clean water, and education for children caught in humanitarian crises” Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, said.

The EU is a leading humanitarian donor in Sudan. Since 2011 it has allocated almost €550 million in life-saving assistance to address various humanitarian needs in the country, largely destined for the Darfur states. The new funding will also support delivery of aid in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, areas that have been cut off from international assistance for years.

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