Did Egypt make concessions in Halayeb and Shalateen issue to satisfy Sudan?

Sudanese repair crew work at the Heglig oil facility, after Sudan started pumping oil again from the war-damaged oil field on May 2, 2012, 12 days after occupying South Sudanese troops left the area.
AFP/Getty Images

Sudan’s Ministry of Energy and Oil announced the updating of the map of the oil blocs in Sudan to be put up for international oil and gas investment, which includes blocs in the disputed area of Halayeb and Shalateen with Egypt, which raises questions as to possible new agreements between the two sides.

April 26, 2021

CAIRO — The head of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, said during a press conference April 9, “Sudan has a good understanding with Egypt about the Halayeb and Shalateen issue.”

Burhan’s statement came at the heels of the Sudanese Ministry of Energy and Oil’s announcement March 21 in regard to the update of the oil blocs’ map in Sudan to be put up for global investment in a bid to attract investors and create investment opportunities in the oil and gas field. The ministry has identified 26 blocs, including the bloc known as the 16th district in Halayeb and Shalateen, without any objection from Egypt.

Sudan files complaint with UN over Egypt election | Radio ...
Photo credit: debangasudan.org

Mohammad Abdul Ghani Awad, head of the Promotion Department at the Oil Exploration and Production General Administration in Sudan, said in a press statement following the ministry’s March 21 announcement that the division and mapping process was carried out in a scientific manner according to the internationally recognized systems and cadastral mapping works.

Sudan’s announcement came following the speech of Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok during his visit to Cairo March 12.

In his speech, Hamdok touched on the issue of the Halayeb and Shalateen Triangle, calling on the need to tackle the unaddressed issues in the relations with the Egyptian authorities, namely the triangle issue in order to come to an understanding in this regard.

On March 6, demonstrations broke out in different locations in Sudan in protest to the visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to Khartoum. Demonstrations called for “taking back the Halayeb and Shalateen Triangle in the Red Sea state.”

The Halayeb and Shalateen Triangle comprises an area of 20,000 square kilometers (7,722 square miles) and includes several towns, notably Halayeb, Abu Ramad, Ras al-Hadariya, Marsa Hamira and the town of Abraq. The area has a population of 27,000 people.

Sudan and Egypt have been in dispute over the Halayeb, Shalateen and Abu Ramad Triangle, as Khartoum has been demanding sovereignty over the area since 1958, while Cairo insists that it is part of Egyptian territory.

Sudan occasionally raises this issue and talks about its sovereignty right over the area. On Feb. 25, the Sudanese government submitted a new complaint to the United Nations Security Council, demanding to impose sovereignty over the disputed territory.

On Aug. 24, 2020, in a speech on the 66th anniversary of Army Day in the Wadi Sidna Military Area in Khartoum state, Burhan said that “armed forces will not give up an inch of Sudan’s land.”

“We stick to our right and will not give it up or forget it until the Sudanese flag is raised in Halayeb and Shalateen,” he added.

On March 20, 2017, the head of the Technical Committee for Border Demarcation in Sudan, Abdullah al-Sadiq, announced the formation of a committee that includes the ministries of justice, interior and foreign affairs as well as the National Records Office of Sudan and the Technical Committee for Border Demarcation to resolve the issue of the Halayeb, Shalateen and Abu Ramad border areas, and to “remove” the Egyptians by diplomatic means.

On April 17, 2016, in an official statement by the Sudanese Foreign Affairs Ministry, Sudan called for direct negotiations over the Halayeb and Shalateen Triangle or the need to resort to international arbitration in compliance with international laws and conventions. Egypt strongly rejected this call.

Commenting on Sudan’s moves, Samir Ghattas, former Egyptian member of parliament and head of the Middle East Forum for Strategic Studies, told Al-Monitor that it is highly unlikely that Egypt would give up territories in the Halayeb and Shalateen area to the benefit of Sudan.

He explained that this area represents an important strategic depth for Egypt since its southern borders on the Red Sea coast is exposed and vulnerable, which threatens national security and therefore Cairo would not allow Sudan to control the triangle.

“It is possible that there will be some kind of understanding, or some concessions on the part of the Egyptian administration, whereby Sudan would be present or carry out excavations in the area but under Egyptian sovereignty. Egypt will not go as far as to cede the lands to Sudan,” Ghattas said.

He noted that in any case, Egypt would not announce the existence of such understandings with the Sudanese side for fear of angry popular reactions, which exploded when the Egyptian government declared that it had officially ceded the islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia.

On June 16, 2017, after the Friday prayers, protests broke out in different parts of the Egyptian capital denouncing the agreement to demarcate maritime borders between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, known as the Tiran and Sanafir Agreement. Dozens of demonstrators were arrested by the security forces.

Ghattas said that the Egyptian leadership is forced to make concessions in the Halayeb and Shalateen issue in order to preserve the unprecedented strategic relations with Sudan, especially now since Cairo is dealing with Ethiopia’s intransigence on starting the second stage of filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), without a prior agreement with the downstream countries, something that represents a clear threat to the Egyptian government.

On April 6, Egypt announced the failure of the last round of talks on the GERD held in the Democratic Republic of Congo on April 4-5. Ethiopia was quick to announce its intention to start the second phase of filling as scheduled in July.

Mona Omar, former Egyptian deputy foreign minister for African affairs, told Al-Monitor that there has been integrated coordination between Sudan and Egypt at all levels, whether political or economic.

She said that a settlement in relation to the Halayeb and Shalateen area was expected in a bid to thwart any external attempts to drive a wedge between the two countries.

Omar also expects the area to witness further investments and the establishment of economic projects and cooperation with international companies generating gains for both Egypt and Sudan.

On Nov. 1, 2020, the Egyptian army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Tamer al-Rifai, announced that the leaders of the Egyptian and Sudanese armies signed an agreement to increase cooperation in training, exchange of expertise and border security.

The Egyptian army announced on Nov. 4, 2020, the launch of joint military exercises between Egypt and Sudan, a first between the special and air forces.

On Nov. 20, 2020, the National Organization for Military Production signed a memorandum of understanding with Sudan’s Defense Industries System in various fields of industrialization.

During a phone call with Burhan Jan. 2, Sisi announced Egypt’s full support for Khartoum in all fields based on the close association of the Egyptian and Sudanese national security.

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2021/04/did-egypt-make-concessions-halayeb-and-shalateen-issue-satisfy-sudan

http://sudanreeves.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Sudan_ECOS_Oil_Map.jpg

South Sudanese refugee aces Kenyan primary exams!

KAKUMA/KENYA -26 APR 2021

[Pjhoto:UNHCR]
[Pjhoto:UNHCR]

 South Sudanese refugee student at the Kakuma Refugee Camp has scored high marks in the Kenyan primary leaving examination.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj over the weekend, Reech Kuol Mayen, said he scored 408 out of the total 500 from Kadugli Primary School at the Kakuma refugee camp in North-Western Kenya.

Kuol, who arrived in Kakuma in 2010, says it was not an easy journey to begin the learning process in a new environment where he faced challenges including the language barrier. He says he was almost giving up but he was encouraged by his widowed mother to continue studying.

“When I came from South Sudan and started school, I did not understand almost everything. The things that were taught were very difficult for me. There were also these languages that are taught and I was not able to understand,” Kuol said.

He also developed some health issues during his studies but surprisingly managed to score an impressive 87 percent in the Kiswahili language. He says he is grateful to his teachers and the community who provided the necessary support for his studies.

“My mother is a very supportive person, also my teachers. I truly lack words to express my gratitude. They have been very supportive and encouraging,” Kuol said.

Dahiyah Abu Sadur, a Sudanese teacher at Kadugli Primary School said this year the school was named the first in Turkana West County and described it as a great achievement.

He encouraged students to continue striving in their studies despite challenges and the uncomfortable life in the camp.

 https://radiotamazuj.org/en/news/article/south-sudanese-refugee-aces-kenyan-primary-exams

In Darfur’s rebel-held mountains, the war is far from over!

21 APRIL, 2021

A man stands in a street, holding a gun.
A  member of the main faction of the Sudan Liberation Army, which controls swathes of territory in the Jebel Marra mountain range. The group refuses to sign a peace agreement with Sudan’s transitional government. (Philip Kleinfeld/TNH)

JEBEL MARRA MOUNTAINS, Sudan

Armed groups from Sudan’s western region of Darfur – and other parts of the country – signed a peace deal in October with the transitional government, which took power following the revolution that ousted long-serving ruler Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

But after trekking to a rebel base in the far-flung Jebel Marra mountains in early March, The New Humanitarian found the conflict is far from over: The region’s most powerful insurgent group is still recruiting and training fighters, and its leaders are rejecting the deal and denouncing the government that co-signed it.

“We are very clear,” said Abdelgadir Abdelrahman Ibrahim, the military commander of the main faction of the Sudan Liberation Army, known as the SLA-AW. “This agreement does not meet the needs of our people.”

Arriving alongside a group of new recruits during a three-day round trip to the SLA-AW’s base at Torontonga – a village of stone houses tucked within sun-dried hills – The New Humanitarian became one of only a handful of international media outlets to access the remote rebel-held region in the past decade.

Rebels offered rare insights into the mindset of the insurgent group as it navigates Sudan’s political transition with deep distrust, but also a snapshot of the ongoing humanitarian crisis facing hundreds of thousands of mountain residents, who have endured some of the worst atrocities committed in the Darfur conflict.

Many residents still bore the scars of government airstrikes, gas attacks, and scorched-earth village raids by Khartoum-armed Arab militias deployed in the early 2000s to fight largely non-Arab rebel groups including the SLA-AW, which is led by Abdul Wahid al-Nur and is supported mostly by the Fur community.

Though a ceasefire with the government is now in place, violence has continued in the mountains, with thousands fleeing attacks by Arab militias as well as clashes between rival SLA-AW factions in recent weeks alone. Residents say the December withdrawal of an UN-African Union peacekeeping mission has made a fragile situation worse.

Boyish-looking rebels stand guard outside the office of the SLA-AW commander, Gaddura. “We will keep doing our military activities,” Gaddura told The New Humanitarian in a rare interview in March. “We are still trying to achieve the objectives that we took up arms for.” (Philip Kleinfeld/TNH)

Even in relatively peaceful parts of Jebel Marra, humanitarian needs are high following an aid blockade enforced by al-Bashir’s regime during past military operations. Aid organisations are now increasing their support to mountain communities, but some residents told The New Humanitarian they have not received assistance in more than a decade.

“In 2003 and 2004 [aid groups] used to visit us frequently,” said 65-year-old Yahia Khamis, the chief of Faluja, a conflict-affected village in eastern Jebel Marra. “But now there are none.”

‘If there is a war we are ready’

The Sudan Liberation Army emerged in 2001 as a mix of Darfur’s main non-Arab groups – the Fur, Zaghawa, and Masalit. They were united in their opposition to Khartoum’s neglectful elites, but personal rivalries and competing visions soon caused splits.

While some factions of the group – and other rebel outfits – lost ground over the years, the SLA-AW stayed ensconced in the hills of Jebel Marra – the ancestral homeland of the Fur, the largest ethnic group in Darfur.

Despite internal tensions over Abdul Wahid’s leadership – he lives abroad and has refused to be part of peace talks since 2006 – the rebels retain significant support in the mountains, and among Darfur’s more than 1.5 million remaining displaced people.

Young recruits – like the eight men who escorted The New Humanitarian – are still making their way to training camps in the fortress-like mountain range, referred to by the rebels as their “liberated areas”.

The recruits are drawn to the SLA-AW because so little has changed in Darfur, said Yousif Mohammed Ahmed, a 35-year-old who grew up in a displacement camp and now promotes the group’s political vision in Zalingei, one of the main towns in the region.

Ahmed said past peace efforts have failed to reduce attacks by Arab militias in the region, or create employment opportunities for youth. “People talk about peace, but there is no peace on the ground,” he said. “There are daily attacks on civilians.”

Armed groups that signed the new peace deal say Sudan’s current leaders are different from the last crop and more likely to see through the agreement, which promises compensation for victims of past conflicts and accountability for perpetrators of crimes.

But that view isn’t shared by the rebel commander in Torontonga, who has little trust in the current power-sharing government, which includes several military generals linked to al-Bashir’s regime.

Speaking from his spartan office, Ibrahim, known by his nickname Gaddura, described General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan – chairman of the transitional sovereign council, the body that runs Sudan – as an “assistant of al-Bashir” in reference to al-Burhan’s involvement in military operations in Darfur in the early 2000s.

Other rebel leaders sitting beside Gaddura singled out the sovereign council’s vice president, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo – better known by his nickname Hemedti – who led the “Janjaweed” Arab militias responsible for much of the devastation here.

Philip Kleinfeld/TNHAbdelgadir Abdelrahman Ibrahim, better known by his nickname Gaddura, is the force commander of Darfur’s largest rebel group. He vowed to keep on fighting in a rare interview with The New Humanitarian in March.

“People who committed crimes have graduated to the top,” said Gaddura, speaking in the local Fur language during an hour-long interview. “We won’t negotiate with those who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity against our people.”

Distrust in the new administration has bred a bunker mentality among the rebels. One senior SLA-AW official blamed a series of recent attacks near Jebel Marra on “militias of the transitional government”, but did not provide details or evidence that such a thing exists.

Gaddura, meanwhile, made a string of provocative and seemingly xenophobic comments about rebel movements that signed the new peace agreement. He also claimed – without providing evidence – that they had begun preparations to fight the SLA-AW.

“We are expecting the transitional government may attack us at any moment,” the commander said, adding: “If there is a war, we are ready.”

Needy villages and new attacks

As peace prospects dwindle in Jebel Marra, aid groups say the long-unaddressed humanitarian crisis here needs more attention. 

Compared to other villages in the mountains, Torontonga has at least some basic services: a school, a health clinic with a few supplies, and a market stocked with vegetables and flatbread. Sky News Arabia was even playing on television in a generator-powered room next to Gaddura’s office.

Elsewhere though, logistical challenges and past constraints on the movement of aid workers have left countless villages with “almost zero access to health services, functioning schools, and any other service”, said Antony Spalton, the head of UNICEF’s office in Darfur.

While aid groups have traditionally focused their activities on the dozens of sprawling displacement camps dotted across urban areas in Darfur, “more now needs to go to places that have no services at all”, Spalton said.

In recent months, aid groups including UNICEF have stepped up assessments and relief work in the mountains – reaching some villages for the first time in over a decade – but “there is masses to do”, Spalton added.

Though rain is reliable in Jebel Marra and residents can cultivate crops unavailable in the dry plains beneath, the UNICEF official said a lack of health services – and access to health education – means rates of malnutrition are high.

Travelling to villages, Spalton said he was also “shocked” by the number of people suffering from spina bifida, a spinal birth defect that could be significantly reduced if pregnant women had access to basic supplements.

Assistance is also needed for the thousands of Jebel Marra residents who continue to flee violence in the mountains – much of it caused by dissident SLA-AW commanders opposed to Abdul Wahid’s and Gaddura’s controversial leadership.

Hundreds of newly displaced people from Jebel Marra take refuge in a displacement camp south of the mountains. Assistance was being provided by local residents like Mohamed Ali Bahar (pictured in the black shirt). “Sometimes aid groups take two or three months to come,” Bahar said. “These people cannot wait.” (Philip Kleinfeld/TNH)

The recent fighting has centred on eastern Jebel Marra, where displaced people described to The New Humanitarian scenes reminiscent of Darfur’s past: village burnings, killings, and rebels sexually abusing women.

The chief of Faluja, Yahia Khamis, said a teacher and a community leader were among scores killed when an SLA-AW splinter group led by a commander called Zanoun Abdulshafi attacked his village alongside Arab militias in late February.

Khamis described Faluja residents as “simple people” with no involvement in internal rebel conflicts. “I will support the person who brings me my rights,” the village chief said from a displacement camp in Nyala, a town south of Jebel Marra. “I just want security.”

Days after fleeing their homes, Khamis and hundreds of other Jebel Marra residents were reliant on support given to them by existing members of the camp, which was set up in 2004 and is known as Otash.

Two cramped community centres with barely enough space to sit, let alone sleep, were accommodating the new arrivals. A few paltry bowls of millet – a local staple – were all that was sustaining them.

“Sometimes aid groups take two or three months to come,” said Mohamed Ali Bahar, an Otash resident coordinating efforts to help the arrivals. “These people cannot wait.”

What next for ‘Mr. No’?

Much of what happens next in Jebel Marra will depend on the polarising figure of Abdul Wahid – viewed as a visionary by his supporters and as an unstable contrarian by his detractors, some of whom have dubbed him “Mr. No”.

Some Sudanese analysts told The New Humanitarian the rebel leader enjoys life as an opposition figure too much to be part of the peace process. Others said he is good at diagnosing Darfur’s problems, but not necessarily at fixing them.

“He won’t sign today, or tomorrow, or in 10 years to come,” said Ahmed Tugod, chief negotiator of the Justice and Equality Movement, a major Darfuri rebel group that signed the peace deal.

Darfur’s largest rebel group remains ensconced in the remote Jebel Marra mountain range. Some residents of the area say they have not received humanitarian assistance in more than a decade. (Philip Kleinfeld/TNH)

Pressure on the SLA-AW to join the process, however, is increasing from within its own ranks, and from some displaced communities in camps that make up the core of its support base.

In recent months, Abdul Wahid has met with Sudan’s civilian prime minister, as well as officials from South Sudan – where the October deal was signed – raising hopes he may yet be tempted to add his name.

Any decision will be affected by how the peace process evolves on the ground, said Musa Bahar El Dein, an academic from the Center for Peace and Development Studies at the University of Zalingei, where Abdul Wahid was born in the 1960s.

“If the government implements the agreement, he will lose supporters,” said El Dein. “If it goes badly, it will increase his supporters.”

For the moment, peace seems far away in places like Torontonga, where the sound of rebels chanting war slogans at a military training centre floated through the hills one morning in March.

And it seems even further away in the displacement camps where Jebel Marra residents are fleeing to once again – some having not even heard that a peace agreement was signed.

“Nobody came to tell us anything,” said 22-year-old Zamzam Momen, split from her children after a militia group attacked her village in February. “This news is something unbelievable.”

Video shows SLA-AW rebels escorting reporters from The New Humanitarian through the remote Jebel Marra mountain range (Philip Kleinfeld/TNH).

https://assets.irinnews.org/s3fs-public/img_3199.mp4?wD8nZFm3IXu0Cniz0v8MV7Cfx4CswnIc

https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news-feature/2021/4/21/inside-darfurs-rebel-held-mountains

West Darfur Clashes Trigger Mass Exodus into Chad !

By Lisa Schlein

April 14, 2021 12:52 PM

Sudanese refugees children pose for photographs, in the Treguine camp, in Hadjer Hadid, in the Ouaddaï region of eastern Chad,…
Refugee children pose for this photo at the Treguine Camp , in Hadjer Hadid, in the Quaddai region of Eastern Chad , 24 March, 2019 ( File photo)

GENEVA – The U.N. refugee agency reports recent deadly ethnic and tribal clashes in Sudan’s West Darfur region have forced nearly 2,000 people to flee for their lives into neighboring Chad.   

A fresh eruption of violence on April 3 between Masalit and Arab tribes over land and water resources has killed scores of people, injured hundreds and displaced thousands.   The deadly clashes in El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, have forced 1,860 people to seek refuge in Chad in the past week.   

U.N. refugee spokesman Babar Baloch says most of the refugees are women, children and the elderly living in villages near the Chadian border.  He says they have crossed near the town of Adre, in Ouaddai province, just 200 meters away from the volatile border.   

Map of Sudan showing North, South and West Darfur

“Refugees arriving in Chad speak of houses and properties being destroyed, and of sites hosting displaced people being targeted.  Some of the new arrivals had already been displaced by earlier clashes last year and in January this year as well,” he said.     

Sudan’s transitional government and two rebel groups signed the Juba Peace Agreement in October 2020.  However, one major rebel group refused to sign this landmark agreement.  The deal is also unpopular with many whose lives have been upended by the conflict that broke out in 2003.   

U.N. aid agencies are urging the Sudanese government to speedily deploy thousands of security forces to keep the peace in Darfur.  Balloch says security must be quickly restored in Darfur.    

This photo provided by Organization for the General Coordination of Camps for Displaced and Refugees, smoke rises from Abu Zar camp for displaced persons in West Darfur, Sudan, April 6, 2021.
This photo provided by Organization for the General Coordination of Camps for Displaced and Refugees, smoke rises from Abu Zar camp for displaced persons in West Darfur, Sudan, Apr. 6, 2021.

“There have been many cycles where people have been forced to leave their homes trying to seek safety within Sudan.  But, also many of those who cannot find safety, they have to run across the border and the fear is if security is not restored, then we may see more refugees arriving in Chad,” he said.    

Balloch notes Chad’s Ouaddai province already is hosting 145,000 refugees from Darfur.  He says UNHCR teams have been rushing to receive and assist the newly arriving refugees.   He describes conditions on the ground as dire, noting people lack shelter and have to sleep outdoors.     

He says people have little protection from the sweltering heat, where temperatures can rise to 40 degrees Celsius during the day.  He adds food and water are urgently needed.     

Balloch says it is unclear from where the money to support the refugees will come.  He notes the UNHCR has received just 16 percent of its $141-million appeal for humanitarian operations in Chad this year. 

https://www.voanews.com/africa/west-darfur-clashes-trigger-mass-exodus-chad

Sudan: West Darfur Capital El Geneina Declared Disaster Area !

21 APRIL, 2021

West Darfur capital El Geneina declared disaster area ...
El Geneina (Radio Dabanga file photo)

El Geneina — The wali (governor) of West Darfur, declared the city of El Geneina a disaster area on Tuesday, and opened the door for organisations to provide health and water services. Wali Mohamed El Doma also said that there has been a rise in COVID-19 infections and called on national and national organisations to provide support and assistance.

He expressed his satisfaction with the arrival of large forces from the army and the Central Reserve Forces to El Geneina. He has also pledged to address any new attacks, calling on people to maintain security and to report suspicious movements.

Following a week-long visit to West Darfur, the Minister of Interior Affairs, Lt Gen Ezzeldin El Sheikh, confirmed that security, state government and humanitarian operations had been been restored to El Geneina. He also said that the government will continue its efforts to help food shortage and called on all sectors of society to provide aid to those affected and to raise the spirit of tolerance and coexistence.

The committee of victims from the neighbourhoods of El Jabal and other neighbourhoods said that the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are responsible for the massacres that took place in El Geneina. The committee called on the state and federal government to return judges and prosecutors to the state immediately to enable the necessary legal measures to be taken. The statement also requested that homes be searched in different neighbourhoods of the city for stolen goods. People were also arrested in Chad who participated in the attack in the El Jabal neighbourhood and Abu Zur camp.

The statement also called on the federal government to expedite the provision of humanitarian aid, shelter and materials, and rehabilitate the homes that were burned and destroyed.

In South Darfur, those affected by the Gereida fire last week are reportedly living in dire conditions with a lack of shelter, food and clothes. People said that the number of affected families reached 2,448, the number of deaths reached 14, and that a large number of livestock and crops had been lost. They said that families are living in the open sun during this month of Ramadan and called on humanitarian organizations to intervene urgently to help the affected people and provide for their basic needs.

The government of South Darfur offered an apology to all residents of Gereida, responding to the absence of their state government and its failure to register visits and humanitarian assistance to those affected by recent events. They also announced that aid will be sent tomorrow.

Central Darfur police employees from Nierteti have been protesting since Sunday against non-payment of dues. Callers told Radio Dabanga that police employees fired ammunition in the air inside the police base on Monday and prevented the director from entering, demanding that he be held accountable.

https://allafrica.com/stories/202104220276.html

Sudan: ♦ Sudan – This Week’s News in Brief ♦

14 APRIL 2021

Radio Dabanga (Amsterdam)ANALYSIS

Dabanga Sudan — A compact digest of this week’s most-read highlights, from the heart of Sudan.

Friends of Sudan hail ‘courage’ two years after Al Bashir regime deposed

April 11 – 2021 KHARTOUM The Friends of Sudan have marked the second anniversary of the overthrow of the Al Bashir regime on April 11, 2019 with a joint statement that hails “the Sudanese people’s courage and commitment to securing democratic governance, respect for human rights and peace”. On this day two years ago, Omar Al Bashir, who had ruled Sudan for 30 years, was deposed in a coup d’état.

The Friends of Sudan group, which includes the USA, France, Germany, Britain, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt, as well as international institutions, said in a statement today that the Sudanese government has made “remarkable progress” in reaching peace agreements with armed opposition groups and in overcoming Sudan’s internal conflicts, corrupt governance, and economic challenges.

The group outlined that it provides sustained political and financial support as Sudan rolls out the Samarat Family Support Programme, implements the Juba Peace Agreement, secures debt relief, and re-joins the international community.

El Burhan arrives in El Geneina following violent incidents in Darfur

April 13 – 2021 EL GENEINA / GIREIDA / NYALA / EL SAREIF A delegation led by Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan arrived in El Geneina yesterday to investigate the situation in West Darfur. He was accompanied by the Minister of Interior Affairs and the director of the Intelligence Service.

According to the Darfur Bar Association (DBA) there is an ‘urgent need’ for a high-capacity military force to protect the people in Darfur. The Darfur lawyers also demand that all groups should be disarmed, urgent measures should be introduced to stop human rights abuses and violations, and all perpetrators of violence should be brought to trial.

On Saturday, the Sudanese Security and Defence Council decided to form a joint military force that can intervene quickly to maintain security in Darfur.

In recent weeks, Darfur has witnessed various violent conflicts and incidents, most notably the recent violent conflicts in El Geneina. Some warned that this could be the consequence of the exit of the joint United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

Sudan state gov: Health and water issues in Blue Nile are ‘stable’

April 13 – 2021 ED DAMAZIN In an interview with Radio Dabanga yesterday, the wali (governor) of Blue Nile state, Jamal Abdelhadi, said that issues with health facilities and water shortages are now stable. In order to solve the issue of an acute shortage of doctors …

Sudanese artists commemorate the revolution with exhibitions

April 12 – 2021 KHARTOUM On the occasion of the second anniversary of the overthrow of the Al Bashir regime on April 11, 2019, the Sudanese Plastic Arts Association organised exhibitions in Khartoum and Omdurman.

Sudan sends condolences to Queen Elizabeth after death of Prince Philip

April 10 – 2021 KHARTOUM The Chairman of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, today conveyed a message of condolence to Queen Elizabeth II of England on the death of her consort Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Sudanese women protest gender discrimination, demand legal reform

April 9 – 2021 KHARTOUM A number of women’s groups marched in downtown Khartoum yesterday to demand the abolition of laws that discriminate on the basis of gender. A driver assaulted the protesters, leaving one injured.

West Darfur gov: perpetrators of ‘treacherous attacks’ affiliated with former regime

April 9 – 2021 EL GENEINA / KHARTOUM West Darfur Wali (governor) Mohamed El Doma reported yesterday that the number of victims of the ‘treacherous attacks’ on El Geneina has risen to 132 deaths and another 208 injuries.Close

Sudan demands UN replace Ethiopian troops in UNISFA mission

April 8 – 2021 KHARTOUM / ABYEI Sudan has demanded that the United Nations to replace the Ethiopian soldiers deployed in the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) in the disputed Abyei* region on the Sudan-South Sudan border with other soldiers, because …

Sudan’s gum Arabic associations highlight problems faced by workers

April 8 – 2021 EL OBEID / EL GOZ The Gum Arabic Forum was launched in El Obeid, capital of North Kordofan, yesterday in the presence of Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and a number of representatives. Participating organisations highlighted …

Demos commemorate start of Khartoum sit-in two years ago

April 7 – 2021 KHARTOUM / ATBARA / EL GEDAREF / WAD MADANI / PORT SUDAN / KASSALA Demonstrations were staged in Khartoum, Atbara, Wad Madani, Port Sudan, Kassala, and El Gedaref yesterday, marking the second anniversary of the start of the sit-in in front of the army command in Khartoum on April 6, 2019.

https://allafrica.com/stories/202104140391.html

Sudan: GERD – ‘Sudan Must Safeguard 20 Million People Downstream’!

Map showing the White Nile and the Blue Nile

19 APRIL 2021

Radio Dabanga (Amsterdam)

Khartoum — Sudan’s transitional government has made its position clear with regard to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, as negotiations on the issue between Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia remain at a deadlock. The Khartoum government’s position, which has been circulated widely on social media, says that “while Ethiopia negotiates for its right for socio-economic development, and Egypt for the right of its water share, Sudan negotiates to safeguard the lives of more than 20 million people living downstream the GERD”.

This clear statement of policy echoes remarks by the Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Yasir Abbas, in a press conference at SUNA on April7 following his participation at the fruitless negotiations in Kinshasa on the issue of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). He warned that the filling of Renaissance Dam without agreement will directly threaten Sudan and endanger the lives of 20 million citizens living below the dam, adding that “this statement is not a matter of propaganda and media exaggeration, but rather a description of the facts”.

The statement highlights that “the filling for the first year has already been completed in July 2020, (unilaterally), without agreement, raising even more concerns in the region.

The Republic of the Sudan is an important riparian country to the Blue Nile, located immediately downstream of the GERD, and thus stands to be impacted the most by this large dam. Accordingly, Sudan feels obligated to inform the world community of its position, and views on GERD and on the ongoing negotiations.

“The Blue Nile is a sacred river our region is blessed with and shared by the three countries of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan. It is an inseparable part of the history, culture, economy, and conscious of the people of our region. For Sudan, the Blue Nile is the lifeline for most of Sudan’s 40 million people. It serves 70 per cent of the irrigated land in the country, and as such represents the heart of the agricultural activities on which the country’s population and economy are largely dependent.”

Sudan has long believed in and advocated for regional cooperation and partnership over the Blue Nile as well as the Nile River as a whole. This is demonstrated by Sudan’s positions and actions since its independence as a leader in all regional initiatives and programs around the Blue Nile and the Nile River as whole. The GERD will completely change the flow regime of the Blue Nile by flattening its hydrograph. With this gigantic size (1.5 times bigger than the annual flow of the Blue Nile), the GERD risks causing significant negative impacts on Sudan if not properly designed, constructed, filled, and operated, the Khartoum government insists.

“These impacts range from threatening the lives and safety of millions of Sudanese citizens living directly downstream the GERD, to the operational safety of the Sudanese dams, to the flood-plain agricultural system of the country, and to the socioeconomic and environmental impacts along the Blue Nile and downstream the main Nile River all the way up to the border with Egypt.”

Khartoum asserts that for the positive impacts to be realised and for the negative impacts to be mitigated there has to be an agreement in place with Ethiopia on how to fill and operate the GERD, “otherwise, the GERD stands to cause substantial risks to Sudan”.

https://allafrica.com/stories/202104200099.html

Movement along Juba-Nimule road resumes with security escort!

JUBA -12 APR 2021

More than 100 commercial trucks entered South Sudan through the Nimule border over the weekend after about a week of protest by drivers demanding safety guarantees to cross into the country. 

This follows a joint meeting in Uganda’s Elegu border town where Ugandan and South Sudanese government officials agreed to resolve the impasse. 

Last week, truckers demanded protection from the government of South Sudan after more than 10 people including foreigners were killed and three trucks were set ablaze by unknown gunmen along the Juba-Nimule and Juba Yei roads. The drivers also demanded justice for those killed.

The South Sudan police deputy spokesperson James Dak told Radio Tamazuj that the second delegation of security chiefs with their Ugandan counterparts agreed to provide security escorts to all vehicles entering South Sudan. 

“There were two delegations, the first delegation went and they did the dialogue but they did not reach an agreement. So, the second delegation was headed by SSPDF and SSNPS plus deputy secretary-general of trade and investment, Director of customs, CID, highway police, and Tiger. the delegation of Uganda was headed by IGP, highway representatives,” Dak said. 

He added that ambassadors for Uganda, Ethiopia, and Somalia in South Sudan and the representative of the transport federation association also attended the meeting. 

“There are six checkpoints on the roads and they also complained of unnecessary taxes on the main roads and they have been assured that these taxes are going to be addressed and that those collecting taxes must be authorized and have form 15,” he added.

The delegations agreed that all vehicles must be escorted from Nimule to Juba and vice versa as well as from Yei to Kaya to avoid further ambushes.

On justice demands by the truckers, Dak said, “The South Sudan government said they are not responsible for those who have been killed on the road simply because the perpetrators are said to come from Uganda and some are residents in Kenya and they should be apprehended by the mentioned countries,” he said. “Our people also complained that one of our police commissioners was also gunned down and we lost even intelligence personnel on that road and there was no any compensation.”

Nimule police inspector captain David Khasmiro also confirmed that vehicles started moving along the road on Saturday. 

“Yeah they have agreed and the vehicles started since yesterday (Saturday),” he affirmed.

About 270 trucks entered Juba after the agreement on Saturday, although most perishable goods had gone bad.

https://radiotamazuj.org/en/news/article/movement-along-juba-nimule-road-resumes-with-security-escort

South Sudan: Uganda, South Sudan in Talks to Beef Up Security On Major Trade Route.

10 APRIL 2021

The Citizen (Dar es Salaam)

By The East African

Kampala has called for enhanced security on the Nimule-Juba road in South Sudan where attacks in the last week of March resulted in the killing of eight Ugandan drivers.

“We are engaging with the government of South Sudan to ensure security from Uganda border points to Juba,” said Arthur Kafeero, Uganda’s Director for Regional and International Political Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ambassador Kafeero said the Elegu-Nimule-Juba route is a major transport corridor for Uganda and South Sudan.

The death of the eight drivers sparked protests at Elegu, a major crossing point from Uganda to South Sudan, paralysing flow of exports and travel of passengers to Juba. Drivers parked their trucks at Elegu on March 27 and by Friday, had not called off the protest.

The drivers, who are transporting goods to Juba, refused to cross into South Sudan, demanding that authorities address the incidents of violent crimes such as hijackings, shootings, ambushes, assaults, kidnapping and looting.

“Today is the second day South Sudan government is directly talking to the drivers to resume transporting cargo to Juba,” said Mr Byron Kinene, Chairman Regional Lorry Drivers and Transporters Association.

The EastAfrican has learnt that drivers are pushing South Sudan to deploy the military along the transport corridor to improve security. They claim the few military escorts are insufficient to ensure their security.

The drivers also want South Sudan to pay for the nine trucks and four passenger vehicles that were burnt in the country.

Early this week, an association for Kenyan drivers announced it had suspended transport to South Sudan over the killing of their colleagues in an attack last week.

In a statement earlier, Juba blamed the attacks on rebel groups opposed to the implementation of the South Sudan peace agreement.

South Sudan is highly dependent on import, mainly from Kenya and Uganda, and the drivers’ continued protests could affect supply of goods in the country.

“Any interruption to trade for such a vulnerable economy is of concern. Beyond security measures, there is clearly a need for economic stabilisation to tackle the underlying problems causing the instability and poverty in the country,” said Andrew Mold, Chief, Regional Integration and AfCFTA Cluster Regional Office for Eastern Africa, at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Uganda’s leading exports to South Sudan include cereals, maize and wheat flour, sugar, vegetable oils, beer, soft drinks, iron, steel, cement and motor vehicle re-exports.

Mr Mold said South Sudan economy is vulnerable, as it has suffered several shocks simultaneously.

“Firstly, even before the global pandemic, the South Sudanese economy was already vulnerable, with high levels of poverty and food insecurity–around 80 per cent of the population lives under the poverty line,” he said.

South Sudan has also been hit by severe flooding in the last few months, that killed livestock, destroyed food stocks and damaged crops ahead of the main harvest season.

Declining oil prices have also affected South Sudan as this is Juba’s main foreign exchange earner. In addition, high inflation rates have made the economy more vulnerable.

https://allafrica.com/stories/202104120277.html

The Nimule parking yard is empty as cargo trucks have remained across the border in Elegu/Courtesy photo.

Egypt Says Ethiopia’s Stances over GERD Fuel Regional Tensions.

Friday, 9 April, 2021 – 05:15

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). AP

Cairo – Walid Abdulrahman

Egypt said Ethiopia’s intransigence and its rejection of negotiations in Kinshasa is further complicating the Renaissance Dam crisis and fueling regional tensions.

This came as delegations from Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia met earlier this week in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo but failed to bridge their differences.

In this regard, Minister Moustafa Madbouli reviewed on Thursday with Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Ati a number of issues, including the outcome of negotiations that were held in Kinshasa over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Kinshasa negotiations ended with no progress achieved, also, no agreement was reached on the negotiations’ resumption, Abdel Ati said.

He added that Ethiopia rebuffed all suggestions and alternatives offered by the two downstream nations to re-launch negotiations to reach a solution to disputable technical and legal issues.

According to the Middle East News Agency, Abdel Ati said the Egyptian and Sudanese sides showed flexibility during the talks to reach a binding agreement on the dam operation and filling.

In 2020, Addis Ababa announced that it had completed the first phase of filling the dam, achieving its target of 4.9 billion cubic meters, which allowed the testing of the first two turbines of the dam. This year, it targets filling an additional 13.5 billion cubic meters.

The dam, built in northwestern Ethiopia near the border with Sudan has been a source of tension since construction began in 2011.

Egypt and Sudan want to reach a tripartite agreement on operating the dam before the filling begins. But Ethiopia says that this process is an integral part of the construction and cannot be postponed.

Meanwhile, Madbouli reviewed the progress of a number of projects carried out by his ministry, including the national project for a canal rehabilitation.

He said 1,430-kilometer-long canals were rehabilitated across the nation and work is underway for lining 4,584-kilometer-long canals.

Madbouli further underlined the importance of this project in improving water management mechanisms, urging citizens to protect waterways from pollution.

https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/2908656/egypt-says-ethiopias-stances-over-gerd-fuel-regional-tensions