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EU envoy: UAE seeks a balanced solution to Sudan crisis

July 28 - 2019 ABU DHABI
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, meets with Pekka Haavisto, EU envoy to Sudan, July 24, 2019 (Rashed Al Mansoori/Ministry of Presidential Affairs)
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, meets with Pekka Haavisto, EU envoy to Sudan, July 24, 2019 (Rashed Al Mansoori/Ministry of Presidential Affairs)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is seeking a balanced and peaceful solution for stability in Sudan, the EU envoy to Sudan said on Wednesday, a week after military rulers and opposition parties in Khartoum signed a power-sharing agreement.

Pekka Haavisto, who is also the Foreign Minister of Finland, conveyed the European Union’s message of support towards the deal during his visit to Abu Dhabi.

“My understanding was that UAE officials were very positive to the developments in Sudan and were genuine,” Haavisto told The National in a telephone interview. “They are also seeking a balanced solution for Sudan to pave the way towards a permanent regime and legislative body in the country.”

On July 17, Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change signed a Political Agreement on a joint Sovereign Council that will rule the country for three years after which general elections will be held.

Ethiopia mediated the negotiations, under auspices of the African Union.

Since being appointed to the post in June, Haavisto has attended negotiations in Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, where different sides are attempting to present their concerns and visions for a new Sudan.

“My discussions in Abu Dhabi, Jeddah and Cairo [concluded] that regional leaders have reached a consensus that it’s time to support the negotiation results,” Haavisto told The National.

He described the Sudanese situation as “unique by nature because the region is now embroiled” in the crisis.

The UAE has supported talks in Sudan since former President Omar Al Bashir was ousted in a military coup in April 11. Together with Saudi Arabia, it provided Sudan with an emergency $3 billion (Dh11bn) aid package.

The EU has provided extensive humanitarian support to Sudan, especially to marginalised areas.

“When the final peace agreement is signed, we think it’s time for the United States to reconsider their listing of Sudan as a country that sponsors terror,” Haavisto said.

Shortly after the ousting of Al Bashir in April, Washington said that it would consider new ways to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism if it sees a fundamental change in its government and a commitment not to support terrorism, a State Department official said.

The US government blacklisted Sudan in 1993 over allegations that Al Bashir’s government supported terrorism.

The designation makes Sudan ineligible for desperately needed debt relief and financing from lenders like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The State Department officials said any new government must demonstrate it is not “supporting acts of international terrorism” and provide assurances “it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future”.

The removal would provide the opportunity for investment in Sudan, Haavisto told The National, adding “it’s important to get the private sector to flourish as soon as possible.”

He continued: “It would also encourage investment in the country; there is a big diaspora in the region and in EU and US who are looking for opportunities to reinvest in their country.”


This text is an extract of UAE seeking a balanced solution to Sudan crisis, EU envoy says, published in The National on July 25, 2019.


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