USAID chief says unified Sudanese army key to stability
The presence of a national army in which the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), and the forces of armed struggle movements are integrated to be one army under a unified command, is one means to ensure stability in post-revolution Sudan, United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power said in a lecture she presented today at Sharjah Hall of the University of Khartoum.
Power stressed that what Sudan needs now, before aid and external support, is for Sudan’s youth and all civil society organisations to stand behind beside the revolution, which they brought about without external support, and in a way that astonished the world and in a peaceful manner that robbed the ousted president of the ability to use violence against the revolutionaries, which was the weapon he had used to ignite wars in various parts of Sudan.
Power emphasised that whatever is said Sudan has never been more secure than it is now, compared to the past 30 years. She stressed that “the USA will always stand beside Sudan as it continues its march on the path of the principles of peace, freedom, justice, equality and democracy,” saying that her country wants to help Sudan to utilise its wealth and resources.
She indicated that the challenges facing Sudan are many, but the Sudanese must have more patience with the government they brought through their revolution, which took strong and severe measures, but it was a necessary condition for getting the country out to the situation it is now in, so that it can now benefit from the HIPC initiative.
A separate statement by USAID spokesperson Rebecca Chalif reports that on the third day of her trip to Sudan, Power travelled to Um Rakuba refugee camp in El Gedaref to meet with refugees from Ethiopia’s Tigray region, representatives of Sudanese communities hosting the refugees, and US government humanitarian partners responding to the crisis. USAID is providing food assistance to nearly all of the more than 46,000 refugees who have fled to Sudan since the start of the conflict.
Power spoke with representatives from the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) about the humanitarian assistance they are providing to Um Rakuba’s 21,000 refugees. Sudanese living in areas near the camp described the impact of the refugee crisis on their communities, which, along with the Government of Sudan, have welcomed Ethiopians fleeing conflict, atrocities, and starvation.
Administrator Power then toured food and cash distribution sites and heard directly from camp residents and frontline humanitarian workers. Power sat with a group of women living at Um Rakuba and heard their stories, including accounts of horrific sexual violence at the hands of armed groups.
Following her trip to eastern Sudan, the Administrator returned to Khartoum and toured a government of Sudan Family Support Programme (SFSP) enrolment centre. SFSP is a USAID-supported social safety net programme designed to ensure Sudanese people can make ends meet as the country makes important economic reforms.
She spoke with the young volunteers who work in their communities to get their neighbours enrolled in the program as well as with families who were in the process of enrolling for the first time. To date, some 1.35 million families have been enrolled with 400,000 receiving payments through both WFP and the World Bank. The World Bank has a target of three million families enrolled and receiving payments by the end of the calendar year. USAID has provided $20 million and is planning a further infusion of support in order to help expand enrolment.
Power as well held detailed discussions with Justice Minister Nasreldin Abdelbari, about the wide range of judicial, regulatory, and legislative reforms that his ministry has begun, while they discussed the specific support from USAID and other donors that could strengthen the ministry’s capacity for reform and accelerate the strengthening of the rule of law after so many decades of impunity, corruption, and neglect.
Additionally, Power’s delegation met with a group representing Sudan’s business community to discuss the vital role of the private sector in advancing economic growth as the country emerges from years of international isolation.
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