Sudan’s PM in Cairo to discuss Ethiopia’s Nile dam dispute!


11 MARCH, 2021

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meets Chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan Gen. Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan at the Presidential Palace in Khartoum, Sudan, Saturday, March. 6, 2021. Egypt’s presidency says President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi trip was to address an array of issues, including economic and military ties and the two nations’ dispute with Ethiopia over a massive dam Addis Ababa is building on the Blue Nile. The visit comes amid a rapprochement between the two governments. (Presidency of Sudan via AP)

CAIRO (AP) — Sudan’s prime minister held talks with the Egyptian president in Cairo on Thursday as both nations seek to build a united front in the ongoing dispute over the controversial dam that Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi agreed that both governments should “work closely at this critical moment” until they mobilize international and regional players to help mediate a solution to the water dispute with Ethiopia, according to a statement by the Egyptian presidency.

The dispute centers on the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam and how much water Ethiopia will release downstream if a multi-year drought occurs and how the three countries would settle any future disputes. Egypt and Sudan also call for a legally binding agreement on the dam’s filling and operation, while Ethiopia insists on guidelines.

Despite years-long negotiations, the countries have failed to reach a three-way deal.

Karthoum has recently called for internationalizing the dispute to include the U.S., the European Union, the U.N. and the African Union to facilitate reaching an agreement on the filling and the operation of Ethiopia’s massive dam.

Sudan wants Ethiopia to coordinate and share data on the dam’s operation to avoid flooding and protect its own power-generating dams on the Blue Nile, the main tributary of the Nile River. The Blue Nile meets with the White Nile in Khartoum. From there, the Nile winds northward through Egypt and flows into the Mediterranean Sea.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country with over 100 million people, has called the dam an existential threat and worries that it would reduce its share of Nile waters. The country relies almost entirely on the Nile to supply water for agriculture and its people.

About 85% of the Nile’s flow originates from Ethiopia. Ethiopian officials hope the dam, now more than three-quarters complete, will reach full power-generating capacity in 2023, helping pull millions of its people out of poverty.

“We are concerned about Ethiopia’s intention to move forward with the filling of the dam for the second consecutive year without coordinating with the two downstream countries,” said Egypt’s Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly in a joint news conference with Hamdok.

In recent weeks, Cairo and Khartoum criticized Ethiopia’s plans to start a second filling of the dam’s reservoir during the next rainy season, expected in July.

“This leaves us with very little time to handle the situation,” said Hamdok. “However, we are hopeful that by then we can reach an agreement on how the filling can take place.”

Hamdok’s visit came less than a week after el-Sisi’s had been in Khartoum in his first visit to the neighboring country since the popular uprising that led to the Sudanese military’s overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

Egypt has in recent years sought to rebuild ties with its southern neighbor, an effort that has intensified since al-Bashir’s ouster. Top civilian and military officials from both nations have exchanged regular visits. Earlier this month, both countries signed an agreement to strengthen military cooperation.

At their news conference, both premiers said they discussed several economic projects that foster cooperation between their countries in areas such as electricity, transportation, agriculture and irrigation.

The Takeaway: Sudan playing increasingly pivotal role in Middle East

Mar 11, 2021

Hot take🔥: Egypt, Israel, US, Saudi Arabia all banking on Sudan!

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi was in Sudan Saturday, yet another sign of Sudan’s increasingly pivotal role in the region.

This was his first visit in a while. Sisi was no friend of dictator and war criminal Omar Al-Bashir, who was deposed in April 2019 following mass demonstrations.

For Egypt, Sudan is a vital partner in the stalled talks with neighboring Ethiopia on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. For Sudan, security ties with Egypt are a priority, especially given that the Ethiopian civil war has spilled over into a hot border dispute.

Meanwhile, Israel is seeking a White House signing ceremony for its normalization agreement with Sudan last year.

The United States is invested in Sudan’s transition after the Trump administration removed it from the terrorism list. US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield this week called for Sudan to complete the formation of its transitional legislative council and hold accountable those who have committed crimes and atrocities in Darfur.

And with all this going on, where does Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok go next? To Saudi Arabia for a meeting with Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh to discuss Red Sea security.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok speaks during a press conference in Khartoum on Feb. 8, 2021.  Photo by ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP via Getty Images.

Read more:

Sudan’s Hamdok talks Saudi support and Red Sea security in Riyadh.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. Reuters/AFP
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. Reuters/AFP

March 10, 2021

Saudi Arabia plays an important role in supporting the Sudanese peace process, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said during a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Mr Hamdok thanked the crown prince for hosting the Friends of Sudan meeting last year to bolster support for the political transition in Sudan and to help get aid to bolster the free-falling economy, state-run Sudan News Agency reported.

Mr Hamdok was accompanied by a high-level delegation of five ministers on the visit, including the head of intelligence and Sudan’s central bank governor.

Crown Prince Mohammed and Mr Hamdok also discussed Red Sea security and co-operating on investment and business ties.

Meanwhile, the United States on Tuesday called on Sudan to build an inclusive and representative government that ensures peace, supports people on the margins and helps “those who have suffered [to] achieve justice”.

US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called for implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement signed six months ago by the civilian-led transitional government and rebel groups, saying so far “the Sudanese people have not seen the commitment and engagement by signatory parties necessary for progress”.

New US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield holds a news conference to mark the start of the U.S. presidency of the UN Security Council for March, at UN headquarters in New York, US, March 1, 2021. Reuters.
New US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield. Reuters

She told the UN Security Council that Sudan should also complete the formation of an inclusive Transitional Legislative Council, where women comprise at least 40 per cent of the representatives.

On February 10, a new Cabinet was sworn in that includes rebel ministers as part of the power-sharing deal the transitional authorities struck in Juba with a rebel alliance .

Sudan’s largest single rebel group, Sudan Liberation Movement-North led by Abdel-Aziz Al-Hilu, held talks with the transitional government but has yet to reach a deal with the government.

Another major rebel group, Sudan Liberation Movement-Army in the Darfur region, which is led by Abdel-Wahid Nour, rejects the transitional government and has not taken part in the talks.

Ms Thomas-Greenfield said a “shocking attack” in West Darfur in January, which reportedly killed 163 people and displaced about 50,000, was “a tragic reminder of the ongoing threats that civilians face in Sudan”.

She called on the government to establish security forces, rule of law and justice institutions in Darfur, including the Special Court for Darfur Crimes.

Volker Perthes, the new UN special envoy for Sudan and head of Unitams, said in his first briefing to the Security Council that “Sudan is making significant advances in its transition. However, the remaining challenges are staggering”.

He pointed to the new Cabinet including signatories of the Juba agreement, and the government’s agreement on national priorities.

Mr Perthes also said that “economic hardships are posing a risk to Sudan’s stability” and that inflation was at 304 per cent in January”.

He said that the country suffers from high rates of unemployment and poverty, with 13.4 million people – a quarter of the population – projected to need humanitarian assistance.

Mr Perthes and Ms Thomas-Greenfield expressed concern at rising tensions along the Sudan-Ethiopia border.

Sudan’s transitional government faces serious challenges, including a huge budget deficit and widespread shortages of essential goods and soaring prices of bread and other staples.

The country is $70 billion in debt and the rapidly deteriorating economic conditions triggered protests this year in Khartoum and other cities across the country.

On February 21, Sudan began a managed flotation of its currency, an unprecedented but expected step to meet a major demand by international financial institutions to help transitional authorities overhaul the battered economy.

South Sudanese face life-threatening food shortages as harvests fall by 50%!

4 Mar 2021 SOUTH SUDAN

Communities in nine out of the ten states in South Sudan harvested on average 50 per cent less cereal and vegetables in 2020 than they did in 2019, the latest assessment by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) shows. Food production declined due to the cumulative impact of conflict, armed violence and natural disasters.

The ICRC interviewed 4,200 people and held 55 focus group discussions. It distributed seeds and farming tools together with the South Sudan Red Cross to over 400,000 people in 2020 and conducted the assessment to understand the impact of this assistance.

“People are tired of depending on aid. They want to live in dignity and provide for themselves and their families,” said Robert Mardini, Director General of the ICRC, during his visit to the country. “Our assessment shows that climate shocks, combined with continuing conflict and armed violence, make the transition for communities from receiving food assistance to independent food production extremely difficult.

As the lean season begins, tens of thousands of families, especially in Jonglei, Upper Nile, Warrap, Unity and Lakes States, are struggling for survival without an adequate harvest from 2020 and following the loss of other food reserves to conflict, armed violence and floods. In the Equatoria States, communities also face a heightened risk of hunger after thousands of people fled their homes, losing crops and livestock due to ongoing conflict.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis on top of a very fragile situation. It is not the main concern of many communities already facing multiple hardships, often over years or decades,” said Mardini. “Whilst we have adapted our humanitarian action to include COVID-19 preventive measures, the pandemic has deepened existing vulnerabilities especially in the health care system, which has been weakened or destroyed by decades of conflict and armed violence.”

A renewed outbreak of armed violence or the intensification of conflict would increase the chance of immediate, life-threatening food shortages for hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese. Combined with the impact of COVID-19 and climatic shocks, many South Sudanese in remote and vulnerable communities face challenging months ahead in 2021.

As South Sudan enters its fifth year of conflict, up to 7.1 million people in the country — the highest number ever — will be severely food insecure at the height of the lean season from mid-May to July, unless a sustained and comprehensive humanitarian response is mounted.

Egyptian president: We must reach legal agreement on Ethiopian dam.

Updated 05 March 2021 MOHAMMED ABU ZAID

President El-Sisi affirmed Egypt’s position on the imperative to reach a binding legal agreement regarding filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). ( AFP/File Photo)

CAIRO: President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi affirmed Egypt’s position on the imperative to reach a binding legal agreement regarding filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The president expressed Egypt’s support for all efforts done to promote peace and stability in Sudan during this pivotal stage in its history. He said that the security of Sudan is an integral part of Egypt’s stability.

In a meeting with Mariam Al-Mahdi, Sudanese minister of foreign affairs, both parties agreed to intensify mutual coordination during the coming period regarding the GERD issue.

El-Sisi stressed Egypt’s strategic approach to supporting all aspects of bilateral relations with Sudan during his meeting with Al-Mahdi, said Bassam Radi, a presidency spokesperson.

This is aimed at consolidating the eternal partnership and relations between the people of the Nile Valley.

El-Sisi confirmed Egypt’s interest in strengthening bilateral relations with Sudan, especially in the fields of trade exchange.

He highlighted Egypt’s readiness to continue transferring its experience in economic reform and training Sudanese cadres.

Al-Mahdi expressed Sudan’s aspiration to develop cooperation between the two countries, appreciating the Egyptian support to preserve the safety and stability of Sudan.

Sources revealed that the Egyptian president will visit Sudan next Saturday on an official visit.

He will hold talks with the Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan to discuss the dam, the border crisis between Sudan and Ethiopia, and other bilateral issues.

Meanwhile, the Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces Mohammed Farid arrived in Khartoum on Monday heading a high-level military delegation for a meeting.

During the seventh meeting of the joint Egyptian-Sudanese military committee in Khartoum, the chiefs of staff of both countries signed a military agreement to enhance regional security and cooperation.

Farid said that the level of military cooperation with Sudan is unprecedented.

He also indicated that Egypt is ready to meet all of Sudan’s demands in military issues because the two countries face common challenges.

The Egyptian minister of foreign affairs and his Sudanese counterpart held a meeting in Cairo. They discussed a number of issues with the GERD on top of the agenda.

Maban residents flee homes after attack!

BUNJ -4 MAR 2021

 A number of residents in Maban County of South Sudan’s Upper Nile State have fled their homes citing an attack from the southern part of Bunj town on Wednesday morning.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Thursday, several residents who fled from their homes said they left their homes in the aftermath of an attack carried out by an armed group on the area of Leka, located about five kilometres away from Bunj town.

 Shaga Lal, a resident of Bunj town who fled her home, said the displaced include a number of children, women and the elderly.

“The humanitarian situation is dire because people are living in the open and there are children. We want the authorities to come and see the situation and help us,” he said.

Sarah Abdullah, a woman who also fled from her home, said: “I fled because of the fighting that erupted in Leka. I am now staying in the bush under a tree without food. We have water but the issue of food is a problem,” she said.

The displaced woman called on the government to provide food and shelter to the families who fled their homes in Bunj town. “I appeal to the parties to ensure that peace prevails. We want our children to live in peace,” she said.

For his part, the Executive Director of Maban County Mumin Khidir blamed the attack on an armed group affiliated with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In-Opposition (SPLA-IO). “The armed group launched an attack on the area of Leka on Wednesday at around 8 am. We have not yet received a report on the losses,” Khidir said.

“Most residents of Bunj left their homes following the attack. We don’t have the exact number of those who fled their homes, but most of the residents left their homes in Bunj,” he added.

The motive behind the attack remains unclear, according to the local official.

Calls to SPLA-IO officials went unanswered.

The partners in the peace agreement are yet to unify and deploy armed forces. They are also yet to reconstitute the national legislature – the body responsible for enacting the reforms stipulated in the agreement.

The formation of a unified army in South Sudan is a cornerstone of the peace agreement.

Sudan: Economic Expert Expects Fall of Sudanese Pound!

17 FEBRUARY 2021Radio Dabanga (Amsterdam)

Khartoum — Economic expert Sadagi Kabalou expects the US Dollar exchange rate to rise to *SDG600 by May unless the government takes urgent measures. Food insecurity will increase the coming months.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, economist Sadagi Kabalou attributed the fall of the Sudanese pound in the past week to the formation of the new government and speculation by currency dealers. He called on the government to take urgent measures to reduce the demand for the dollar, including preventing the import of luxury goods.

Kabalou called for public companies to take over export operations. Livestock export must be “taken away from the monopoly of the military establishment”.

The prices of sugar, oil, milk, lentils and rice rose again on the streets. The price of a bag of sugar rose from SDG12,800 to SDG13,500.

January’s inflation rate increased to 304.3 per cent compared to 269.3 per cent in December 2020.

The exchange rate of the dollar against the Sudanese Pound rose again from the beginning of this week, after a significant decline following the formation of the government last week.

FEWS NET, the Famine Early Warning System Network set up by USAID (United States Agency for International Development), expects more food insecurity and shortages the coming months in almost all of Sudan.

* As effective foreign exchange rates can vary in Sudan, Radio Dabanga bases all SDG currency conversions on the daily middle US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) = 55.1375 at time of posting.

Read the original article on Radio Dabanga.

Saudi State Minister Meets Sudanese Officials in Khartoum !

Wednesday, 17 February, 2021 – 11:45

Saudi Minister of State for African Affairs Ambassador Ahmed Kattan. (SPA)

Khartoum – Ahmed Younis

Saudi Minister of State for African Affairs Ahmed Kattan has made a short visit to Sudan where he discussed with Sudanese officials the bilateral relations.

Kattan said the visit comes in implementation of the directives of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

He explained that the meetings aimed to strengthen bilateral relations, stressing the importance of developing economic ties with Sudan, especially investment projects.

Kattan noted that the two countries will exchange further visits.

The Sudanese Foreign Ministry issued a press release saying Kattan met with the head of the Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, Foreign Minister Maryam al-Mahdi, and Finance Minister Gibril Ibrahim.

Ibrahim said he discussed with the Saudi official establishing strategic projects that help cover the agricultural needs of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region.

They also discussed implementing giant oil and gas projects to help build strategic partnerships.

The minister explained that the meeting addressed developing the relations between the two countries to help build strategic partnerships with the Kingdom, especially in the economic sector.

They also talked about developing the Sudanese investment law and removing obstacles that prevent the establishment of joint investment projects.

South Sudan Plane Crash Kills All 10 On Board.

By Manyang David Mayar March 03, 2021 11:58 AM

Map of South Sudan

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN – South Sudan’s civil aviation authority has sent a team to investigate a plane crash Tuesday in Jonglei state that killed 10 people, including two crew members.

Kur Kuol, director of the South Sudan Civil Aviation Authority, told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus Wednesday that preliminary investigations suggest both engines failed minutes before the plane went down.

“In just 10 minutes from Pieri, according to the information that we have, one engine stopped and then it was about to return to the airstrip, the other stopped and so the plane crashed,” said Kuol.

The HK-4274 commercial passenger aircraft belonged to South Supreme Airlines, which is owned by South Sudanese businessman Ayii Duang Ayii. It was flying from Juba to Pibor when it crashed at Pieri Airstrip in Uror County.

State Governor Denay Jock Chagor offered his condolences to the families of the victims. In a statement released Tuesday, Chagor confirmed all eight passengers and two crew members on board died in the crash.

Investigators with the South Sudan Civil Aviation Authority are searching for the plane’s black box, said Kuol.

The plane was in good condition before takeoff, according to Ayii Duang Ayii, director of South Supreme Airlines.

“There is no airplane allowed to take off when there are technical problems. [A] captain can’t accept to take off when he knows there are some problems in the plane, so we don’t know what has happened with the plane,” Ayii told South Sudan in Focus.

The plane was co-piloted by a 30-year-old South Sudanese/American pilot who received his flight training in the U.S. before returning to South Sudan more than 10 years ago, when he began working for South Supreme Airlines.

Ayii said his airline will respect the findings of the investigation.

“Every plane is under national rules. Later we shall find out the cause of the crash and who is to blame,” Ayii told VOA.

In March 2017, an Antonov An-26 belonging to South Supreme Airlines was destroyed in a fire after it crash landed at Wau Airport on a domestic flight from Juba.

Sudan Welcomes First US Navy Ship Visit in Decades!

By Naba Mohiedeen

March 02, 2021 01:43 PM


KHARTOUM – U.S. naval forces are visiting Sudan for the first time in decades, following Sudan’s removal from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. 

Sudanese officials cheerfully welcomed the missile guided destroyer USS Winston Churchill at Port Sudan Monday. 

In a news conference, the top commander of Sudan’s naval forces, Alnairi Hassan, described the visit as a momentous occasion.

Hassan says Sudan is happy to receive the USS Winston Churchill destroyer.  This visit is historic after 30 years of severed relations.  The visit has big implications and represents the resumption of the Sudan-U.S. relationship and the return of the warship visits.

The United States removed Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism in December, after nearly three decades of sanctions stemming from Sudan’s support for al-Qaida leaders in the 1990s. 

Officers from the U.S. African Command visited Sudan two months after the Trump administration lifted the sanctions, and they expressed an interest in “military-to-military engagement.”

The visit by the U.S. Navy began on February 24, when the first U.S. ship in decades arrived at a Sudanese port. 

The director of maritime affairs for the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet, Rear Admiral Michael Baze, confirmed the U.S and Sudan’s interest to build a partnership between the two countries’ armed forced.

“The reason I’m here is because I want to learn more about your country and develop partnerships with your navy,” Baze said. “We have many shared values. I’m honored and humbled by the progress the Sudan, Sudanese people have made over the last couple of years to work toward democratic principles, we support that. But the main reason I’m here is to become friends with our navy counterparts, and I look forward to working hand in hand.”

Simultaneous to the U.S. Navy visit, a Russian warship has docked at Port Sudan.  Russia is waiting for Sudanese government approval to build its first navy base in Africa.