Saudi Arabia, UAE, US and UK calls for restoration of government and effective dialogue
The signs coming out of Sudan are encouraging. The country’s army and politicians seem to be getting a little closer to a new power-sharing agreement, following the dissolution of the civilian government by the military on October 25.
The good news is that the head of the military, Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, and ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok are talking. Hamdok has sought a return to the status quo before the events of October 25 as a precursor to finding a settlement to the crisis. Burhan has said he seeks a new government of technocrats, and that Hamdok could return to lead that government.
The news came shortly before a statement issued by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the United States and the United Kingdom that urged “further dialogue about how to restore and uphold a genuine civil-military partnership for the remainder of the transitional period, pending elections.” The statement said peace, security and the interests of people of Sudan must be “a top priority” in “an effective dialogue between all parties.”
It is widely expected that the statement will go a long way in encouraging both the military council and the former government officials, led by Hamdok, to show the required flexibility for the sake of Sudan’s future. The country has emerged to take its rightful place on the regional and world stage after decades of stagnation under longtime military ruler Omar Al Bashir and his Islamist government. For three decades, Bashir’s policies turned Sudan into an international pariah. Two years ago, a popular uprising forced his removal. The country had been jointly ruled by civilian and military figures in a delicate arrangement since 2019. This transitional period was intended to lead to polls in 2023.
After what it has been through for the past few decades, Sudan needs a helping hand. The priority is economic development and debt relief. But foreign help, especially from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, depends on finding an amicable solution to the present imbroglio. Without this, the country might lose out on billions in foreign funding that it desperately needs.
Sudan is a major player in Africa, and an integral part of the Arab world. It is at a crossroads and stability in the country is a paramount concern for its neighbours and for the international community as a whole. Sudan has several things going for it, not the least of which is the talent of its people. The young population in the country is very aspirational and the leadership has a duty to live up to their expectations.
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