Sudan Border closures with Libya, CAR begin to have impact.

By Naba Mohiedeen October 17, 2019 04:00 PM

FILE – Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, left, head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, meets with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, in Juba, South Sudan, Oct. 14, 2019. The council has ordered the closure of Sudan’s borders with Libya and Central African Republic.

KHARTOUM – Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council recently ordered the closure of the country’s borders with the Central African Republic and Libya, citing security concerns. The order has been gradually implemented in the last three weeks.

However, some Sudanese say the decision is affecting business.

Spare parts trader Ahmed Bushara thinks reopening the borders would ease the country’s transportation crisis.  

The current high price of transportation isn’t about the fuel shortages only, he says. Spare parts are a major element for cars. If the borders are open and trade is facilitated, he says, it’ll reflect positively on the car sector and spare parts. 

Unlike Bushara, Noman Eisa has welcomed the measure, even though he once tried to migrate through Libya to Europe, only to return to Darfur.

Map of Sudan

Eisa says Libyan gangs and militias are a danger for Sudanese youth hoping to escape poverty and strife.

He says the closed borders are positive if they stop illegal migration, but he hopes the new government will deal with the people detained and lost in Libya, and handle the root cause of Sudanese youngsters leaving. In addition, he wants measures in place for legal migration.

The Sovereign Council decided to close the borders after a September clash between rival militias in Birau, Central African Republic, that left 23 people dead.

Council members cited reports that militiamen were sneaking into Sudan on their way to join other militias in Libya.

But political analyst Othman Mirghani thinks the council has both economic and security concerns.

The main smuggling of commodities is on the eastern borders not on the westerns ones, he says, but western borders have many security concerns, including weapon smuggling and armed troops entering the country from Libya and other countries that suffer from security issues.

Sudan is located on a widely-used migration route that links east and central Africa with the Mediterranean and Europe.

The unrest Sudan has seen before and since the ouster of former president Omar al-Bashir led the European Union to suspend funds for migration control, allowing a greater number of migrants to enter the country. It remains to be seen whether the border closures will slow that flow.

https://www.voanews.com/africa/sudan-border-closures-libya-car-begin-have-impact
 

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US envoys open Sudan bank accounts for first time in decades!

Sudan hopes to revive its failing economy.

16 October ,2019

Four US diplomats on Wednesday opened accounts at a Sudanese bank for the first time in decades, as Khartoum seeks to draw international businesses back to the country to help revive the ailing economy.

In October 2017, the United States lifted its decades-old trade embargo on Sudan. But the move has so far failed to attract foreign investments, seen as vital to revive Sudan’s economy hit hard by foreign currency shortages.

In December 2018 an economic crisis sparked a nationwide protest movement. The uprising eventually led to the ouster of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir in April.

“We lifted economic sanctions in 2017 and we want to show that Sudan is open for business, that banks, international banks and businesses are welcome back here,” Ellen Thorburn, deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Khartoum told AFP after she opened her account at a branch of the Bank of Khartoum.

“The timing seemed right now with the civilian led transitional government and the changes that they are enacting,” Thorburn said.

She also cited the “dramatic changes” Sudan has witnessed this year as an incentive.

With the ouster of Bashir, Sudan is now ruled by a joint civilian-military body, called the sovereign council, which is tasked with overseeing the country’s transition to civilian rule.

Washington has kept Sudan in its “state sponsors of terrorism list” along with Iran, Syria and North Korea.

Sudanese officials say this is still keeping international businesses away.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-7581095/US-envoys-open-Sudan-bank-accounts-time-decades.html

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Sudan declares ‘permanent ceasefire’ as peace talks hit snag!

AFP Thursday, 17 October 2019

Sudan announced Wednesday a “permanent ceasefire” in the country’s war zones even as a key rebel group threatened to pull out of peace talks, accusing government forces of bombing its territory.

Juba has been hosting talks between new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s government and delegates from two umbrella groups of rebels who fought now-ousted president Omar al-Bashir’s forces in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan states.

The talks were launched on Monday, but the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) told journalists it would pull out unless the government withdrew from an area in the Nuba mountains.

The group said that for the past 10 days government forces had kept up attacks on its territory despite an unofficial ceasefire.

Late on Wednesday, the chief of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, announced a permanent ceasefire in the three conflict zones.

“General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has announced a permanent ceasefire to show that the government is committed to peace,” the sovereign council said in a statement.

“The ceasefire is valid from the signing of this declaration.”

An unofficial ceasefire had been in place since Bashir was ousted by the army in April in a palace coup following nationwide protests against his decades-old rule.

A joint civilian-military sovereign council is now ruling Sudan and is tasked with overseeing the country’s transition to civilian rule as demanded by protesters.

A new transitional government is in place to carry out the daily affairs of the country and has been leading the peace talks in South Sudan’s capital with the rebel groups.

Bloodshed in the three states has left hundreds of thousands of people dead and millions displaced, in turn severely impacting the northeast African country’s economy. Last Update: Thursday, 17 October 2019 KSA 04:19 – GMT 01:19

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/10/17/Sudan-declares-permanent-ceasefire-as-peace-talks-hit-snag.html

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Sudan’s First Female Chief Justice Wins Wide Acceptance

By Carol Van Dam October 15, 2019 01:08 PM

In this frame grab from video, Sudanese women rally on the streets of the capital, in Khartoum, Sudan, Sept. 12, 2019.

KHARTOUM, SUDAN – Sudanese citizens have largely embraced the sovereign council’s move to appoint Nemat Abdallah as Sudan’s first female chief justice, a first in the Arab world.

Nemat Abdallah Mohammed Khair’s appointment is monumental not only for Sudan but for all of Africa. She is only the fifth female justice named in Africa, after Ghana, Ethiopia, Seychelles and Lesotho.

Wafa Adam, who works for the local non-governmental organization Siha, which advocates for women’s rights in Sudan, is elated that a woman now holds a top position in the country, something that was unthinkable for decades under former President Omar al-Bashir.

“I am very excited about that and she is going to support the women and she is going to advocate for women and laws. We expect her to support the women movements and the women,” Adam told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus.

Adam said Sudan is one of three Muslim countries that has not ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). She expects Abdallah to ratify CEDAW and to work to reform Sudanese local laws that oppress women.

“For example, public order law, family law and criminal law and many laws that are not supporting women’s rights, we request her to advocate for reforming those laws,” Adam told VOA.

Israa Dawood, a Sudanese youth who took part in the protests that led to Bashir’s ouster, said Abdallah’s appointment is historic.

“This is a huge milestone for Sudan and now we are depending on the judiciary so much, so that atrocities committed during the revolution’s period would be brought to book. Abdallah has played a significant role during the revolution and everybody has pushed for her appointment,” Dawood told South Sudan in Focus.

Haj Hamad, a political science lecturer at Khartoum University, said Abdallah’s appointment as chief justice proves that the overwhelming number of Sudanese trust women’s leadership skills.

“This is a major breakthrough from earlier policies of a different regime in the country, that providing a reprisal step of women professionals and leaders to occupy such kind of very high ranking and influential post,” Hamad said.

Abdallah was initially nominated as chief justice soon after military leaders and the opposition signed a power-sharing agreement in late August, but Sudan’s new executive body, the sovereign council, instead named a man to the post. Public protests led the council to reverse course and appoint her as chief justice on October 10.

Hamad said Abdallah will likely face numerous obstacles during Sudan’s three-year transitional government, but added that the new chief justice will likely stand firm to defend the country’s constitutional declaration and all laws that govern the country.

According to the constitutional document signed on August 17, 2019, the chief justice names the judiciary council.

In addition, the chief justice heads the judiciary and serves as president of the nation’s Supreme Court.

Link to web article.

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In Sudan, Women Showed the World How It’s Done

Opinion

By Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

  • Oct. 15, 2019
Alaa Salah, a Sudanese protester, in April. A photo of her leading a chant against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir became a sensation.
Alaa Salah, a Sudanese protester, in April. A photo of her leading a chant against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir became a sensation.CreditCreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

The world watched earlier this year as the people of Sudan rose up to demand the ouster of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, an authoritarian who had presided over three decades of brutal rule. A protest over bread prices quickly blossomed into a full-throated demand for civilian government. On April 11, after nearly four months of demonstrations, the military announced it had arrested Mr. al-Bashir, finally ending his reign.

Sudanese women were at the forefront of this movement for democracy and change, having endured years of marginalization, harassment and sexual violence. By some estimates, they made up as many as two-thirds of the protesters. A photo of the young protester Alaa Salah leading a chant against the regime became a viral sensation, illustrating the revolutionary power of the country’s women.

The protest movement that ousted Mr. al-Bashir is yet another example of African women’s increasing participation in the political process, whether as activists or legislators. As of July 2019, four of the world’s top 15 countries with the highest percentage of female lawmakers in their lower or single houses of parliament are in Africa. Thirteen African nations have parliaments with female membership at 30 percent or higher.

Creating inclusive democracies takes time, however. And inclusion cannot occur without strong democratic institutions and basic respect for the rule of law, both of which have long been absent in Sudan.

The months between Mr. al-Bashir’s ouster in April and the August signing of a transitional power-sharing agreement between Sudan’s ruling military council and the pro-democracy opposition were marked by widespread protests and violence. On June 3, a paramilitary group known as the Rapid Response Forces attacked pro-democracy protesters in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, as they demanded an end to the military-led government that took power after Mr. al-Bashir’s arrest. A doctors’ group associated with the opposition estimated that 127 people were killed and approximately 70 raped in the attack. The following month, several student demonstrators were shot and killed by security forces in the city of El-Obeid.

As Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese-born businessman and philanthropist, has written, “Intimidation, harassment and violence have no place in a democracy.” How right he is.

But in order for democracies to be safe, women must have power. That means more than just the right to vote; women need real decision-making authority. Their voices must be heard on the streets and in all branches of government.

Sudanese protesters celebrated the arrest of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in April.
Sudanese protesters celebrated the arrest of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in April.CreditEuropean Pressphoto Agency, via Shutterstock

Electing more women to office normalizes the idea that women and other marginalized groups can wield power effectively. It also changes the government’s priorities and makes it function better over all. Various studies have shown that women tend to be less autocratic and to work more collaboratively. Research also suggests that governments with more women in office are more likely to spend money on health care and education and to advance women’s rights.

A 2017 study by the Brookings Institution found that gender equality and democracy strengthen each other. When there is greater equality in governance, a nation’s “relative state of peace” is increased, security is improved and there is less aggression toward other countries. In turn, when democracy is stronger, women are less likely to suffer violence and enjoy greater political and economic equality.

How can we set this virtuous cycle of inclusion and democracy in motion? The question must be asked, not only in Sudan as the country works to build a stable civilian government, but also all across the world, as women struggle for equality and representation.

I humbly offer three suggestions.

First, quotas must be set for female representation at all levels of government. Research has shown that gender quotas, although not a perfect system, do help women overcome the cultural, economic and electoral barriers that keep them from holding elected office. Such quotas can later be phased out, based on the recognition that women, once in office, will begin to share in the benefits normally granted to men.

Mandated quotas of various kinds have gained traction in Africa and around the world in recent years. For example, a constitutional requirement in Rwanda — the world’s leader in terms of female representation in Parliament — stipulates that women must account for at least 30 percent of all decision-making organizations in government.

In the case of Sudan, which recently embarked on a three-year transition toward democracy after months of unrest, women must have a large seat at the negotiating table and play an active role in the peace process. In a hopeful sign, Sudan’s new cabinet includes the country’s first female foreign minister, Asma Mohamed Abdalla.

Second, the international community must be more responsive in advocating for stronger democratic institutions. Instead of becoming involved only after tragedy occurs, as happened in Sudan, international actors and institutions must learn to detect the warning signs of impending violence and lend support by pressing for open dialogue, ensuring that women have the right to speak up. In this way, nations can make the transition to democracy without resorting to mass protests and bloodshed.

Third, we must support girls in Africa and around the world, by providing them with education, health care and economic empowerment. We also need to think seriously about leadership training, whether that means providing assistance to the young women who are bold enough to enter politics or creating networking platforms that empower women across cultures and continents.

Sudan’s democratic revolution would not have been possible without the efforts of women and girls. I believe that, in time, Sudanese women will enjoy the full fruits of democracy. Until then, we must stand with them, in our words and deeds.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the former president of Liberia (2006-2018) and a joint recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

This is an article from World Review: The State of Democracy, a special section that examines global policy and affairs through the perspectives of thought leaders and commentators.

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Sudanese Congress says Islamists prepare to pounce on transitional authority.

PCP consultative council members arrested by the army after am attack by angry students on their way to a meeting on 27 April, 2019 ( PCP = Popular Congress Party )

October 6, 2019 (KHARTOUM,) – Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP) has accused the Islamist “anti-revolutionary factions” of working to mobilize the masses in an attempt to pounce on the recently formed transitional authority after the collapse of their regime. ( Under Omar al- Bashir)

In a statement issued on Sunday, the SCoP Media Secretariat says that it has been monitoring plans by anti-peaceful democratic transition aiming to “use the difficulties the transitional government is encountering to mobilize the mass to cover up a military coup under the pretext of taking side with people’s will.”

The SCoP’s statement comes after calls in the social media from members of the Islamic movement to launch a series of protests ending by a sit-in outside the army headquarters on 21 October to demand the military to “correct the course of the revolution”.

One of the Sudanese Islamists who called for the protest Ammar Alsjad, a PCP leading member, said that the national and Islamic forces have given the FFC, an “adequate opportunity”, but now they will “work to correct the course of the revolution”.

The SCoP party which is one of the main components of the ruling Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) pointed out that the transitional government is committed to the slogans and objectives of the revolution after its formation and won the satisfaction of local and international.

“It does not make sense to expect the final results of its work before the end of one month since its assignment,” further said the statement.

The difficult economic challenges facing the transitional government coupled with the high expectations of the Sudanese street encourage the Sudanese Islamists to increase their efforts to destabilize Hamdok’s cabinet.

In a related development, the Popular Congress Party distanced itself from a call by some of its leading members to demonstrate on October 21 in front of the army headquarters.

Acting Secretary-General Bashir Adam Rahma told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that his party “has not issued any statement on the demonstration on October 21st.”

http://ww.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article68252

(ST)

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At UN, Sudanese Prime Minister says ‘great revolution has succeeded,’ country will rebuild, restore values

27 September 2019 UN Affairs

The “great revolution” of Sudan has succeeded and the Government and people and will now rebuild and restore the values ​​of human coexistence and social cohesion in the country as they try and turn the page on three decades of “abhorrent oppression, discrimination and warfare,” Prime Minister Abdullah Adam Hamdok told the United Nations on Friday evening.

Addressing the General Assembly’s annual general debate, Mr. Hamdok said Sudan’s people, after months of mass protests, had recently prevailed “against a brutal and repressive regime,” and thanked the UN Security Council, the Assembly, the African Union and other international partners for their support.

“The Sudanese people are moving confidently and steadily on their way towards the future as a friend and equal partner with all peace-loving people of the world,” he said, explain that the country will now aim to transform its foreign policy from the one that’s prevailed the last three decades.

In this new approach, Khartoum will reach out to its regional neighbours and all other countries worldwide, with a true spirit of friendship, guided by its genuine belief in human values and the heritage of Sudanese wisdom, he said.  

Sudan pledges to uphold international law, human rights, and efforts to end discrimination, exploitation, injustice and inequality.  “We remain committed to maintaining international peace and security,” he said.

The revolution aims to end Sudan’s international and regional isolation, Mr. Hamdok continued, but reminded delegations that his country has inherited international sanctions, and it is on the list of State sponsors of terrorism. However, “it was the former regime that supported terrorism”, he explained, not Sudan’s people.

The sanctions have wreaked havoc on its population. “We call on the United States of America to remove Sudan from the list of” State sponsors of terrorism and cease punishing the population for acts committed by the previous regime.

He said that Sudan is determined to address the root causes of its civil wars: economic marginalization, and ethnic, cultural and religious discrimination. As such, in addition to promoting social coexistence and fostering a culture of peace and tolerance among all components of the Sudanese people, he declared his determination to move forward in this way by building a state of government, a state of citizenship, a state of balanced development, and a state of protecting the rights of Sudanese.

The country will address the situation of refugees and displaced people, “while compensating them for the damages incurred” by war, he said.  An additional challenge is the accumulated foreign debt inherited from the previous regime, and Sudan looks forward to the generosity of the international community.

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Seize this moment in Sudan

Protesters call for the extradition of ousted president Omar Bashir in Khartoum, Sudan, on Sept. 23. (Marwan Ali/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

By Rebecca Hamilton September 30 at 3:16 PM

Rebecca Hamilton is an associate professor at American University Washington College of Law. She is the author of “Fighting for Darfur: Public Action and the Struggle to Stop Genocide.” She covered Sudan for The Post from 2010-2011.

Sudan is in the midst of a once-in-a-generation moment. Courageous and persistent pro-democracy protesters, who broke the grip on power that president Omar Hassan al-Bashir had held for three decades, have now succeeded in bringing civilian reformers into leadership positions. The significance of this moment might be overlooked by anyone who expects a democratic transition to be heralded by a headline-making event akin to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The democratic opening of Sudan (population 42 million) is equivocal, precarious — but no less historic.

In Khartoum, military commanders sit alongside civilian officials in a transitional arrangement that makes everyone uneasy. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemeti, is on the power-sharing sovereign council that will lead the country until elections scheduled for 2022. Hemeti was a commander of the Janjaweed militia that devastated the Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit communities of Darfur in western Sudan over a decade ago. He now heads a proxy militia that was responsible for massacres of pro-democracy protesters in June. No one should doubt that any and all democratic progress could be destroyed upon his command.

And yet.

Even as Hemeti sits on the sovereign council, the prime minister chosen by the pro-democracy protesters, economist Abdalla Hamdok, has forged ahead with building a cabinet of technocrats more diverse than Sudan has ever seen. On Tuesday, the nation’s new minister of justice, Nasredeen Abdulbari, appeared on behalf of his government at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva: “We believe peace can only be achieved if we address the root causes of Sudan’s wars, which are the marginalization by the state of the peripheries.”

For Sudanese and all who follow Sudan, it is impossible to overstate how extraordinary it is to hear such a sentence uttered publicly by a Sudanese official. From British colonialism onward, those on the periphery — what is now South Sudan, along with the Three Areas, Darfur and East Sudan — have been excluded from power. Decades of war and the associated deaths of millions of Sudanese flow from this common root cause.

What makes the acknowledgment of this reality all the more remarkable is that Abdulbari is himself of Fur ethnicity. Back in 2004, when then-Secretary of State Colin Powell stood before the Senate to proclaim that atrocities unfolding in Darfur constituted genocide, it was literally unimaginable that 15 years later, a lawyer hailing from one of the groups targeted for destruction would be the Sudanese minister of justice.

The rest of Abdulbari’s speech in Geneva detailed the new government’s plans to advance human rights. These include the establishment of a legal reform commission to “amend or abolish tens of pieces of legislation in Sudan that restrict freedoms or are inconsistent with international human rights law,” and the decision to join international human rights treaties including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention against Torture. The day after the speech, the Sudanese government matched words with action, signing an agreement with the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights to open a country office with access to all areas of Sudan.

These are dizzying developments to all who know Sudan. For more than two decades, U.S. officials, Republican and Democratic alike, have invested thousands of hours of policy analysis and diplomatic engagement, along with billions of dollars in aid, in the hope that Sudan would emerge from a genocidal dictatorship. Finally, democracy has gained a foothold.

To say the current situation is fragile underplays the risks. The structures that supported al-Bashir’s reign remain, and Sudan’s history counsels that failure is more likely than not (of the three democratic governments Sudan has seen since independence in 1956, all have been overthrown by the military). But this reality must not lead the international community to hedge, waiting to invest fully in supporting the efforts of the new government until a complete democratic transition seems like a sure bet. The time to pull out all stops in support of the democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people is now.

Hamdok and his cabinet have been clear about their desire for Sudan to shed its pariah status. And they have specifically asked that the United States remove Sudan from the state sponsor of terrorism list. Doing so would allow wide-ranging sanctions to be lifted. For Hamdok’s fledgling government, now responsible for an economy in free fall after decades of corruption, this would be a lifeline. This is the moment for the United States to lead the way.

In a time of growing authoritarianism worldwide, Sudan’s extraordinary protest movement serves as a beacon of hope. As Abdulbari put it in his speech to the council: “The people of Sudan have — by making enormous sacrifices — practically proven that ending an authoritarian regime and starting the process of establishing a free, just and peaceful society is possible. The international community should show its solidarity with the people of Sudan.”

Read more:

The Post’s View: Sudan has a remarkable, unexpected second chance at popular rule

The Post’s View: What Trump should learn from the downfall of Sudan’s dictator

Andrew Natsios: How Washington and the world can help Sudan fulfill its democratic dream

Reem Abbas: Sudan must come together to face its terrifying violence

Reem Abbas: Sudan is tasting freedom for the first time. We can’t turn back.

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Sudan announces 9-month plan to rescue economy

On the politically tricky topic of Suddenness government subsidies, Hamdok said any changes would only be made after “deep discussions” with the people.

Saturday 28/09/2019

Fragile economy. Sudanese women at Abul Fadel shopping centre in Khartoum. (AFP)

KHARTOUM – Sudan’s transitional government will start a 9-month economic rescue plan aimed at curbing rampant inflation while ensuring supplies of basic goods and is asking the World Bank for $2 billion.

Shortages of bread, fuel and medicine coupled with hefty price rises sparked protests that led to the toppling of long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir in April. The economy has remained in turmoil as politicians negotiated a power-sharing deal between the military and civilians.

Sudanese Finance Minister Ibrahim Elbadawi said the new plan, to begin in October, would restructure the budget and tackle inflation but leave bread and petrol subsidies in place until at least June 2020.

“It aims… to restructure the banking sector, rationalise government spending, address the state’s financial burden and review tax exemptions, because 60% of economic activity is tax exempt,” Elbadawi said. It would also combat corruption.

The transitional government, led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, is Sudan’s first since al-Bashir’s overthrow. The government needs billions of dollars to import basic goods, such as fuel and flour. Fuel subsidies account for 8% of GDP, Elbadawi said.

The government wants to replace commodity subsidies with direct cash transfers to poor families, he added.

Hamdok was expected, during the UN General Assembly meetings in New York, to ask the World Bank for $2 billion in funding, Elbadawi said.

Khartoum has asked the bank to send three Sudanese experts as secondees and to help pay their salaries to improve Central Bank and Finance Ministry performance during the political transition.

Sudan has been unable to tap the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for support because the United States lists the country as a state sponsor of terrorism.

“American officials have informed us that removing Sudan from the US terrorism list is complicated because it is tied to Congress and could take nine months to a year,” Elbadawi said.

The new economic plan aims to address the country’s weakening currency, he said. The Sudanese pound is officially set at 45 to the US dollar but on the black market on September 23 it was trading at 69 pounds. Elbadawi said he hoped to unify the two exchange rates by June.

Hamdok, shortly after his appointment in late August, said Sudan needed $8 billion in foreign aid over the next two years. He said up to another $2 billion of foreign reserves deposits were needed in the next three months to halt a fall in the currency.

Mounting public anger over shortages of food, fuel and hard currency triggered mass demonstrations that forced al-Bashir from power in April.

On the politically tricky topic of government subsidies for bread, fuel, electricity and medicine, Hamdok said any changes would only be made after “deep discussions” with the people.

“The people are the ones who will make the decision on this issue,” he said.

Sudan has been in economic turmoil since it lost the bulk of its oil production in 2011 when South Sudan seceded after decades of civil war. It has devalued the pound several times but not been able to halt the fall.

“We will work to unify the exchange rate and to manage the exchange rate using a flexible managed exchange rate,” Hamdok said, without going into details.

He said Sudan needed to restore trust in the banking system.

Hamdok, who studied agricultural economics, has worked at the African Development Bank and most recently was a special adviser at the Trade and Development Bank in Ethiopia. He said Sudan needed to tap its agricultural potential.

Sudan is rich in agricultural resources but high taxes, corruption and mismanagement have held back investment in the sector for decades.

“We want to take the Sudanese economy from an economy based on consumption and imports to a productive economy and stop exporting products such as livestock and agriculture as raw materials,” Hamdok said. “Instead, we will aim to process them so as to create added value.”

He said he wants to focus on peace building in a nation that has seen conflicts flare in multiple parts of the country and endured a civil war that ended in the secession of the South.

“Stopping war, which represents 70% of the expenditure in the budget, will create a surplus that can be invested in production and particularly agriculture, livestock and related industries,” he said.

Shortly after al-Bashir was ousted, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia pledged $3 billion in aid to Sudan in the form of a $500 million deposit in the central bank, which Sudan has received, as well as fuel, wheat and medicine.

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Hamdok urges US to remove Sudan from sponsors of terrorism list

PM calls on Washington not to punish the Sudanese people for ‘crimes’ committed by Omar al-Bashir’s government.

28 Sept 2019

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Friday addressed the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly [Kevin Hagen/AP]

Sudan’s new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has urged the United States to remove Khartoum from its list of state sponsors of “terrorism”, saying sanctions imposed by Washington were causing “tremendous suffering” to the Sudanese people.

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly late on Friday, Hamdok said Sudan was seeking to begin a “new phase” following the toppling in April of longtime ruler, Omar al-Bashir, in the face of months-long mass protests.

“It was the former regime that supported terrorism and the Sudanese people revolted against it. These sanctions have caused tremendous suffering to our people,” said Hamdok, who was appointed prime minister in August.

“Therefore we call on the United States to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism and to stop punishing the people of Sudan for crimes committed by the former regime.”

The US designated Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993, cutting it off from financial markets and strangling its economy over allegations that al-Bashir’s government was supporting “terrorism”, notably attacks in Kenya and Tanzania

The designation makes the country ineligible for much-needed debt relief and funding from international institutions, and limits potential foreign investment.

After months of deadlock following al-Bashir’s overthrow, the ruling military and protest leaders agreed on a joint body to oversee a three-year transition before elections can be held. The civilian-dominated sovereign council appointed Hamdok to lead the transitional administration.

The former UN economist has pledged to stabilise the country and repair an economy battered by the US sanctions and government mismanagement during al-Bashir’s rule. But Sudan has so far been unable to tap the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for support because of the US’s designation.

Earlier on Friday, Hamdok told reporters he had held “useful” talks with US officials on the issue.

“We hope as we move forward we will be able to conclude very soon an agreement that would allow Sudan to be de-listed,” he said after a high-level event to drum up support for his country.

“The new Sudan that is upholding governance and democracy is not a threat to any nation in the world,” he added.

Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, also expressed support for Hamdok’s efforts at the Sudan event in New York. He called for the immediate removal of “Sudan’s designation as a terrorist-supporting state and lifting all economic sanctions and mobilising massive financial support for development to make the current political gains durable”.

Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan, reporting from New York, said that because Hamdok “is a transitional figure, it’s unlikely that the US is going to recommend any changes in the status of Sudan until elections have been held, a new constitution has been formed and until a permanent civilian government has been established”.

A senior US official told Reuters news agency in August that Washington would test the commitment of Sudan’s new transitional government to human rights, freedom of speech and humanitarian access before it agrees to remove the country from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

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