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The Sudan: Supporting the democratic transition Sudan

Hope for peace – people in the capital Khartoum celebrate the agreement reached between the military and the opposition.

Hope for peace – people in the capital Khartoum celebrate the agreement reached between the military and the opposition., © picture alliance / Photoshot

08.07.2019 - Article

The democratic transition in the Sudan is a historic opportunity for the country. It also opens up the prospect of stability and peace in the entire region. Germany is playing an active role in supporting the country’s transition.

The Sudan after the revolution

Following the peaceful revolution last year, the Sudan is now at a historic crossroads: after three decades of dictatorship, a civilian interim government under Prime Minister Hamdok is to smooth the way for peace and democracy. The transition period is due to last a total of 39 months, first with a military head of state, then a civilian one. After this period, universal, free elections are to be held.

The interim government has fixed two major priorities: to get the country’s economy on a stable footing and to negotiate a peace agreement with the armed groups. Only a peace accord accepted by all sides can bring a lasting improvement in the situation and resolve underlying conflicts. Above all, however, the government needs to lead the country out of the severe economic crisis which is causing the population great hardship. The Sudan remains one of the world’s poorest countries and is highly indebted. Alongside peace, economic stabilisation and reintegration into the international community are the key prerequisites for a successful, sustainable democratic transition.

UNAMID: From peacekeeping to peacebuilding

Developments in Khartoum also have an impact on the situation in the Darfur region in the west of the country. The joint United Nations-African Union peace mission in Darfur, UNAMID, to which Germany is the only western country providing soldiers and police officers, continues to play an important role in bringing stability to the region. In consultation with the new Sudanese Government, the UN Security Council has extended UNAMID’s mandate till the end of October 2020.

The international community needs to keep up its engagement to prevent a relapse into open conflict. In the next few months, therefore, the aim will be to transform the UN peacekeeping mission into one that consolidates peace, supports transition and helps protect the population.

A historic opportunity

The democratic transition in the Sudan is a historic opportunity for the country to overcome the legacy of the Bashir era. At the same time, it opens up the prospect of stability and peace in the entire region, which – like neighbouring Ethiopia – is in turmoil. In order to ensure the success of the peaceful revolution, it is therefore vital, at this precise juncture, to support the interim government in the Sudan. It needs help from international and regional partners to implement urgently needed political and economic reforms.

The German Government responded early on to developments in the Sudan and is committed to supporting the country’s transition at bilateral level, in the EU framework and multilaterally. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas travelled to the Sudan shortly after the formation of the interim government, the first western Foreign Minister to do so, and Federal President Steinmeier is to visit the country at the end of February. Moreover, Federal Chancellor Merkel is due to meet Prime Minister Hamdok this week.

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