Tag Archives: Sudan

EU expects negotiated solution for Ethiopia Grand Dam

Brussels 26.10.2020 The European diplomacy fully supports the efforts of South Africa, the African Union chair, to conclude talks between Egypt-Ethiopia-Sudan on Renaissance Dam on Blue Nile with a successful agreement to advantage of all inhabitants of the Blue Nile basin.

“Over 250 million of citizens of the Blue Nile basin stand to benefit from the predictable agreement based on the negotiated arrangement for the filling of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, they are expecting the investment in water security, aggregation, agricultural production, and electricity generation” the EU spokesperson said, reacting upon the resumption of the talks from October 27 after two months pause, caused by the departure of Egypt delegation.

“The agreement of the filling of the gerd is within the reach of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, now is the time for action, and not for increasing tensions. The efforts of South Africa, the current chair of the African Union to bring the parties to the negotiated solutions have the full support of the European Union which looks for to the imminent resumption and successful conclusion of the talks” the spokesperson added.

Negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over a giant multi-billion dollar dam on the Blue Nile will resume on Tuesday,October 27, nearly two months after Egypt delegation left the talks, African Union chairman Cyril Ramaphosa said on October 26, Monday.

A dispute between the three countries over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) remains unresolved even after the reservoir behind the dam began filling in July.

“The resumption of the trilateral negotiations on the GERD … is a reaffirmation of the confidence that the parties have in an African-led negotiations process,” Ramaphosa, who is South Africa’s president, said in a statement.

Sudan sea port blockade

The main sea ports of Sudan were blockaded by protesters opposed to part of a peace deal with the rebels, targeting branches of the ravaged economy’s main conduits for trade.

Demonstrations forced facilities to close at Port Sudan and Suakin, both on the Red Sea, according to the head of a local labor committee that supports the action, Abdou Alshirbini. Protesters plan October 5 to extend their blockade to Bashair, the port from which landlocked South Sudan’s oil is shipped to world markets, he said by phone.

Authorities weren’t immediately available to comment on the committee’s claims. Sudan Seaports Corp. spokesman Nabil Mahmoud said on October 4 that facilities at Port Sudan and Suakin had been partially closed, without giving details.

Any long-term pause would mean more problems for Sudan’s  troubled economy. Inflation has hit 167% and GDP is likely to contract some 7.2% this year as the North African country strives to overcome shortages of key commodities and attract foreign aid and investment in the aftermath of dictator Omar al-Bashir’s 2019 ouster.

Groups from other regions also signed, but some in the east said the two factions that participated in the “eastern track” of the peace process do not represent political forces on the ground, Reuters news agency reported.
The deal is aimed at ending decades of conflict in Sudan and uniting the country behind a political transition following the ouster of former leader Omar Bashir in April 2019.

However, the two most active  and powerful groups in the west and the south did not sign, and analysts said that during negotiations, local communities were not widely consulted by military and civilian authorities now sharing power.

The rebel groups – the Darfur-based Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) faction led by Abdelwahid Mohamed al-Nour and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) led by Abdelaziz al-Hilu did not sign, reflecting the challenges still facing the peace process.

Workers at the southern port, Sudan’s main sea terminal for containers, and at Suakin port to the south, were on strike over the peace deal, said Aboud El-Sherbiny, head of the Port Sudan Workers Union.

“We demand the cancellation of the ‘eastern track’ and the agreement that was signed yesterday in Juba because this track expresses an external agenda,” he said.

Borrell on Sudan “Historic Day”

Brussels 03.10.202 “Today is another historic day for #Sudan, its citizens and the whole region. Many have worked tirelessly and courageously to make this Peace Agreement a reality. The EU will continue standing by your side to implement it #AUEU” said Josep Borrell, the EU top diplomat, while addressing the developments in Sudan. Borrell on Sudan “Historic Day”

Sudan’s transitional government and several rebel groups have signed a peace agreement aimed at resolving years of civil war in which hundreds of thousands of people perished and millions displaced in different regions across the country.

Cheers rang out as representatives from the government and a coalition of armed groups called the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) signed the deal on Saturday, a year after the peace talks began, at a ceremony in Juba, the capital of neighbouring South Sudan.

Present at the event guarantors of the deal from Chad, Qatar, Egypt, the African Union, European Union and United Nations also put their names to the agreement.

“Today we have reached a peace agreement. We are happy. We have finished the mission,” Tut Gatluak, head of the South Sudanese team of mediators said, shortly before the signing of the deal, taking plac a year after the peace talks were launched.

However, two powerful rebel groups – the Darfur-based Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) faction led by Abdelwahid Mohamed al-Nour and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) led by Abdelaziz al-Hilu have refused to sign, reflecting the serious challenges still facing the peace process.

The deal establishes terms to integrate rebels into the security forces, be politically represented and have economic and land rights. A new allocated fund of $750 million a year for 10 years to the impoverished southern and western regions and the opportunity of return for displaced people is also guaranteed.

Sudan’s leaders, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and head of the transitional sovereign council General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan attended the ceremony.

Ethiopia Grand Dam dispute

In his speech to the United Nations the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that Ethiopia has “no intention” of harming Sudan and Egypt with a giant hydropower dam on the Blue Nile that has caused a bitter water dispute between the three African countries.

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan failed to strike a deal on the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam before Ethiopia began filling the reservoir behind the dam in July, the move which has risen concerns of damages to the farmers along the Nile, deprived of water supply. However the three states have returned to African Union (AU) -led mediation.

“I want to make it abundantly clear that we have no intention to harm these countries,” he told the 193-member U.N. General Assembly in a video statement, pre-recorded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to addressing the concerns of downstream countries and reaching a mutually beneficial outcome in the context of the ongoing AU-led process,” Nobel Peace Laureate Abiy said.

Tensions between neighbours escalated this year, as the U.S.-brokered negotiations between Ethiopia and Egypt untangled and new talks mediated by the African Union began. Two issues are at the core: what will happen during a drought and what will happen in case of dispute. In terms of the former, Egypt wants the pace of the reservoir filling to be dependent on rains, to ensure a minimum flow if there’s a drought; Ethiopia says such a guarantee is unacceptable. And in terms of disputes, Egypt and Sudan want a resolution mechanism with binding results, but Ethiopia doesn’t.

Borrell welcomes Sudan peace agreement

“The peace agreement initialled today between the civilian-led Transitional Government of Sudan and the Sudan Revolutionary Front signifies an important milestone for the ongoing democratic and economic transition of Sudan. reads the statement by the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell on the peace agreement in Sudan.

“Mediated with the help of neighbouring South Sudan, the agreement paves the way towards the establishment of a lasting peace in Sudan.

“Only an agreement implemented in good faith and in the spirit of cooperation can live up to the needs and expectations of the Sudanese people for a better life in peace and stability.

“On this occasion, the EU calls upon Sudan People’s Liberation Movement–North-Abdalaziz Al-Hilu and the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdul Wahid Al-Nur to join the peace efforts for the benefit of the local communities who deserve to benefit from the changes underway in Sudan. This is the time for all Sudanese stakeholders to set aside their differences and to look for the greater good of the country and of all Sudanese.

“The EU remains committed to supporting the historic Sudanese transition”.

The government of Sudan and the main rebel alliance agreed on a peace deal on Monday, August 31, ending the 17 years of conflict.

The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a coalition of rebel groups from the western region of Darfur and the southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, signed the peace agreement at a ceremony in Juba, capital of neighbouring South Sudan, which has hosted and helped mediate the long-running talks since late 2019.

The final agreement covers the major issues concerning security, land ownership, transitional justice, power sharing, and the return of the internaly displaced.

It also provides for the dismantling of rebel groups and the integration of their fighters into the national army.

The deal is a milestone in the transitional leadership’s step towards resolving multiple, deep-rooted civil conflicts.

Darfour: scores of killed and injured

Reports of killings of more than 60 people and nearly 60 others wounded during an armed attack in a village in Sudan’s fragile Darfur region on July 25, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

The attack in Masteri village in the West Darfur state “was one of the latest of a series of security incidents reported over the last week that left several villages and houses burned, markets and shops looted, and infrastructure damaged,” the U.N. body announced in a statement. It did not reveal the source of its information.

There was no official word from the government on the incident and Reuters was not able to reach officials for comment.

Sudan authorities made clear they would deploy joint forces from various state security services in Darfur after renewed violence there recently, SUNA, the state news agency, reported.

The forces will be deployed to the region’s five states “to protect people and secure the agriculture season”, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said during a meeting in Khartoum with a delegation of women from Darfur.

The country’s Security and Defense Council has underlined the importance of “using the force necessary to save lives and property, confront all forms of lawlessness and support equal citizenship rights,” it said after a meeting on Sunday, July 26.

In a separate incident, at least 20 people died and 22 others were injured after gunmen from an unidentified militia attacked a village in the state of South Darfur, witnesses and a local community leader said during the weekend.

On Sunday,July 26, three people, including a woman, were killed during a renewed dispute between farmers and shepherds in the Al-Jarf area in North Darfur state, SUNA reported, adding that security forces intervened and separated the two sides.

Recent violence by militias in North Darfur prompted authorities to declare a state of emergency on July 13.

“The escalation of violence in different parts of Darfur region is leading to increased displacement, compromising the agricultural season, causing loss of lives and livelihoods and driving growing humanitarian needs,” the United Nations said.

The conflict started in Darfur, in the west of Sudan, in 2003 after mostly non-Arab rebels rose up against the Khartoum government. Government forces and mainly Arab militia, which moved to suppress the revolt, were accused of widespread atrocities.
According to different international official sources more than 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, according to U.N. estimates.

21:20 AMENDMENT:

Increased inter-communal violence in several parts of Darfur has claimed more than 60 lives in West Darfur in recent days. All violence must be prevented and the perpetrators of these acts must be brought to justice. These incidents further underscore the need for continued engagement to protect civilians in Sudan and to respond to local demands for security, accountability and protection. The EU stands ready to support the civilian-led transitional government in its efforts to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Sudanese people. Much of the EU’s development cooperation in Sudan focuses in particular on peripheral areas, in particular Darfur, in order to foster peace” the European External Actions Service spokesperson said, reacting upon evens in Darfour.

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.

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