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UN, Norway host high-level virtual meeting in support of Sudan

October 1 - 2021 NEW YORK / OSLO
The UN and Norway co-hosted a high-level virtual meeting in support of Sudan's transition process, September 30 (SUNA)
The UN and Norway co-hosted a high-level virtual meeting in support of Sudan's transition process, September 30 (SUNA)

On Thursday, the United Nations and the Government of Norway convened a High-Level Side Event on Sudan. Delegations from a large number of member states, UNITAMS, and international and regional organisations, attended the meeting.

The Event commenced with opening remarks by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Norwegian Foreign Affairs Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide. Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok addressed the meeting. Member States and organisations expressed their support to Sudan’s democratic transition. 

“The High-Level Side Event provided an opportunity to take stock of the overall progress achieved thus far and reaffirm international support for the transition at a critical time,” António Guterres said.

He commended the Sudanese people for “their perseverance in this historic transition,” and called on all parties in Sudan to remain committed to the transition, underscoring that “any effort to undermine it will jeopardise the hard-earned progress made on political and economic fronts”.

'Same boat'

The Norwegian FA Minister referred to the joint responsibility of the military and civilian components of the Sudanese government to rebuild the country on a democratic basis*. “You are in the same boat,” she said, and lauded the armed forces' successful response to a coup attempt in Khartoum on September 21.

She commented that the peace process is not complete without the signature of all rebel movements, and called on the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) to return to the negotiating table.

The Minister welcomed the establishment of an independent Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism to address outstanding issues of the Juba Peace Agreement, signed by the Sudanese government and a number of rebel movements in the South Sudanese capital on October 3 last year.

She further stressed the need to establish the Transitional Legislative Council and develop a permanent Constitution.

'Moving in the right direction'

PM Hamdok spoke about the many challenges facing the transitional government of Sudan, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the influx of refugees into Sudan, prevailing security challenges, the deep economic hardships faced by the population, and continuing challenges to the peace process and the political transition.

He highlighted Sudan’s legislative reform process, economic reform efforts that enabled it to begin receiving debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and move Sudan towards economic progress and improved conditions for investment.

Hamdok admitted that there is still a long way to go, “but these are indications that we are moving in the right direction” he said, and stressed that "Sudan remains eager to deepen its partnership with the international community to bolster the country’s long road to socio-economic recovery, attract investment and to achieve sustainable peace and inclusive development".

He also announced plans to join the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, as the government has recently managed to improve the investment environment in order to attract capital for investment in the country.

The High-Level Side Event on Sudan, organised on the margins of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, was attended by delegations from 24 UN member states, the UN Integrated Transition Support Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), and eight international and regional organisations.

Sudan’s international key partners, including the UN Security Council, members of the Friends of Sudan group, regional states, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and key regional organisations addressed the meeting as well.

Norway is part of the Sudan Troika, together with the USA and the UK.

* Following an aborted coup attempt on Tuesday last week, tensions between Sudanese military and civilian leaders surfaced. They openly blamed each other for the continuing crises in the country.

Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, Sovereignty Council President and Chief of the Sudan Armed Forces and Lt Gen Mohamed Dagalo ‘Hemeti’ Sovereignty Council Deputy President and Chief of the Rapid Support Forces militia, accused the civilian politicians of squabbling and quarrelling over positions, and condemned the lack of respect for the military. In response, civilian members of the government criticised the military for “claiming a monopoly of guardianship over the country and the sole right to lead it through the transitional period”.

Envoys from South Sudan, France, and the USA arrived in Sudan this week in an attempt to defuse the political crisis. Volker Perets, Head of the UNITAMS mission in Sudan continued his meetings with the members of the Sovereignty Council.

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