German President begins two-day visit to Sudan
The President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, arrived in Khartoum today accompanied by a high-level delegation for an official two-day official visit to Sudan. He was received at Khartoum airport by the Chairman of the Sovereign Council Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan and a number of ministers and officials.
On the first day of his visit, the German president held talks with El Burhan and Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok. The visit will also discuss progress of relations between the two countries and ways to develop them further during the coming period.
The German President and his delegation are scheduled to make field visits to a number of infrastructural and economic projects, foremostly the electric power sector.
At a joint press conference held with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the Council of Ministers today, Hamdok described the change that took place in the country as deep, radical and that it covered the whole country.
“We have the right to speak proudly of the Sudanese model of change which is based on partnership between the civilians and the military components that laid down the foundation for building a strong democratic system in Sudan,” Hamdok said.
The German President said his current visit to Sudan was a hint for European leaders to consider changes taking place in Sudan and to support Sudanese efforts on this transition for its importance for the region.
At the joint press conference, Steinmeier said that his visit to Sudan was “a clear signal for others who did not concern with Sudan to come in and extend support to it”.
He renewed his country’s support to change in Sudan and the right way the Sudanese people pursued to express their will.
The German president expressed respect and appreciation to Sudanese officials in the executive body and the Sovereign Council , who are managing the country amid complicated economic conditions , renewing his country standing alongside the Sudanese people who led the change and achieved victory over injustices and want to contribute to shaping the future.
He referred to “misconceptions about Sudan by some members of international community that led to its failure to participate effectively in supporting the change in Sudan”.
‘Those who are in power today in Sudan are not responsible for the problems caused by the former regime’ – German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier
He affirmed the commitment of Germany to work together with the Friends of Sudan group to remove barriers for cooperation with international financial institutions and lifting the name of Sudan from blacklists that prevent German companies from cooperation with the country.
President Steinmeier called on the international community to enable Sudan to deal with the international funding institutions, asserting that those who are in power today in Sudan are not responsible for the problems caused by the former regime.
He said that there is now a historic opportunity for Sudan and that Germany is interested in success of this opportunity for a better life and prosperity for Sudan.
President Steinmeier expressed the pledge of Berlin to new activity in Sudan on the grounds that “Sudan is a reliable partner in the economic development field,” referring to the decision of the German Parliament to resume developmental cooperation with Sudan.
The German President affirmed his country’s readiness to implement the agreement between the German Ministry of Development Cooperation and Sudan by providing €80 million to support vocational training and job opportunities for youth.
He pointed to efforts being exerted by the German Foreign Minister to support Sudan in the peace, education and governance fields.
He stressed the need to act quickly to ensure Sudan’s access to international financial institutions, adding that the door shall be open for loans, indicating that there is no other way than to involve international financial institutions and to enable Sudan’s access to credit.
Prime Minister Hamdok has said his meeting with President Steinmeier, touched on the prospects of cooperation between Sudan and Germany and ways to advance and develop them to serve the common interests of the peoples of the two countries besides the economic conditions and the peace talks, and that the meeting also tackled the issue of writing-off Sudan’s foreign debt, stressing that this issue is blocked by the US sanctions imposed on Sudan that limit any progress in the debt issue.
He noted that these sanctions are a 30-year legacy of the defunct regime, saying that Germany’s pioneering role in the European continent and its close relations with the international community would help Sudan in addressing this issue.
Hamdok said that the German President’s visit to Sudan is the culmination of the historical relations linking Sudan to Germany.
He referred to the visit of the German Foreign Minister to Sudan, the visit of the German Minister of Development Cooperation and his own recent visit to Germany, during which he met German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the side-lines of the Munich Security Conference on February 14.
Today also saw the beginning of Sudanese-German joint meetings at the Republican Palace co-chaired by El Burhan and Steinmeier.
SUNA indicates that the two sides will discuss a number of issues of mutual concern and means for developing them further as well as, the bilateral relations between the two countries in all domains.
The German President accompanied by the Minister of Culture and Information, Feisal Mohamed Saleh, visited Sudan National Museum where they were received by its director, Dr Hatim Saeed.
Dr Saeed briefed Steinmeier on the archaeological sites in Sudan, watched pictures of the Sudanese antiquities, and heard a briefing of specialists of the German missions working in the archaeological field in Sudan.
In a press statement to SUNA, the museum’s director said that the relations between the National Antiquities Corporation, represented in the National Museum, and the German side are old, as the Germans were the first to excavate antiquities in Sudan.
He explained that there are seven German missions operating in Sudan with funding from Qatar.
At the museum, the German President was also informed by a German excavation mission operating on the repair of the Royal Paths in Merowe.
The German President also heard a briefing from the Qatari delegation about the efforts of Qatar in financing projects for the reparation of the Sudanese antiquities in several sites in Sudan.
By the end of his visit to the National Museum, the German President received a copy of the documents written by Dr Friedrich Henkel, which contains a digital archive and includes the full scientific and engineering work of Dr Henkel, that began in 1958 at the site of Musawarat and the Pyramids site, in addition to a digital memory for each work in the field of antiquities that have taken place in the country over the past years
It is to be noted that Dr Henkel played a great role in saving the Nubian pyramids from drowning.
Steinmeier will conclude his official visit on Friday, after a visit to the control centre of the Sudan Company for Electricity.
The Acting Director of the centre, Salim Mahjoub said they began arrangements for the visit since December, adding that the visit will contribute to improvement of the relations between the two countries.
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