March 2015 - Posts
March 26, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan has expressed readiness to contribute ground troops for the military offensive which started on Thursday against Houthi rebel positions in Yemen, according to media reports.
Saudi Arabia’s state news agency (SPA) said that Sudan, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt and Pakistan are prepared to participate in a potential ground offensive in Yemen.
Furthermore, the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV reported that 3 fighter jets from Sudan took part in the air strikes along with dozens of planes from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.
The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir today concluded a one-day state visit to Saudi Arabia today in which he met with King Salman Bin Abdel Aziz and his son Mohamed who is the kingdom’s defence minister.
Bashir is still in Saudi Arabia for a private visit to perform religious pilgrimage in Mecca. after which he will leave for Egypt to participate in the Arab summit.
The trip represents a thaw in relations between the two countries which has been tense in recent years because of Khartoum’s close ties with Iran.
In the past there were also reports that Sudan has been providing weapons to Houthi rebels on behalf of Iran.
Few hours ago, the Saudi ambassador in Washington Adel al-Jubeir announced at a press conference that a coalition consisting of ten countries have joined hands to assist the internationally recognized Yemeni government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
Jubeir declined to say the names of non-Gulf countries which participated.
"We will do whatever it takes in order to protect the legitimate government of Yemen from falling," he said.
A statement issued in Riyadh in the name of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates - the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries without Yemen’s neighbour Oman - said they had been asked for help by Hadi’s embattled government.
Yemen’s slide toward civil war has made the country a crucial front in mostly Sunni Saudi Arabia’s rivalry with Shiite Iran, which Riyadh accuses of stirring up sectarian strife throughout the region and in Yemen with its support for the Houthis.
The crisis now risks spiraling into a proxy war with Shiite Iran backing the Houthis, and Saudi Arabia and the other regional Sunni Muslim monarchies supporting Hadi.
In a letter to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday, Hadi said he had asked Arab states "to provide immediately all means necessary, including military intervention, to protect Yemen and its people."
Hadi cited Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, which covers an individual or collective right to self-defence against armed attack, as his legal justification.
KHARTOUM, Sudan — Mar 23, 2015 – Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on Monday signed an initial agreement on sharing water from the Nile River that runs through the three countries, as Addis Ababa presses ahead with its construction of a massive new dam it hopes will help alleviate the country's power shortages.
The dam had been an issue of contention among the three countries, with Egypt concerned it would reduce its share of the Nile established under a colonial-era agreement that gave Egypt and Sudan the main rights to exploit the river's water.
But on Monday, leaders of the three nations — Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Sudanese President Omar Bashir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn — welcomed the agreement in speeches in Khartoum's Republican Palace, linking hands and smiling at a signing ceremony.
"While you are working for the development of your people, keep in mind the Egyptian people, for whom the Nile is not only a source of water, but a source of life," el-Sissi said, addressing his Ethiopian counterpart after the three watched a short film about the Grand Renaissance Dam highlighting how it could benefit the region.
Cairo previously had voiced fears that Ethiopia's $4.2 billion hydro-electric project, announced in 2011, would diminish its share of the Nile, which provides almost all of the desert nation's water needs, especially under previous governments.
The agreement, hashed out by officials from the three countries weeks beforehand in Khartoum, outlines principles by which they will cooperate to use the water fairly and resolve any potential disputes peacefully, leaving details on specific procedures to be determined later after the release of joint, expert studies.
"The Egyptians don't really have any other options," said Ethiopian water researcher Seifulaziz Milas, adding that once the dam had been built and the land behind it flooded, the amount of water flowing down the Nile would return to normal. "It's just a question of filling up the reservoir, after that there's nowhere else for the water to go besides downstream."
Until recently, Ethiopia had abided by the colonial-era agreement that gives downstream Egypt and Sudan rights to the Nile water, with Egypt taking 55.5 billion cubic meters and Sudan 18.5 billion cubic meters of the total of 84 billion cubic meters, with 10 billion lost to evaporation.
That agreement, first signed in 1929, took no account of the eight other nations along the 6,700-kilometer (4,160-mile) river and its basin, which have been agitating for a decade for a more equitable accord.
But in 2013, Ethiopia's parliament unanimously ratified a new accord that replaced previous deals that awarded Egypt veto powers over Nile projects. They said at the time that work on the dam, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Sudan's eastern border, will continue during consultations with Cairo, and that experts had already agreed that the dam would not significantly affect water flow to both Egypt and Sudan.
In his speech in Khartoum, el-Sissi said that Egypt was a dry country that used its 55.5 billion cubic meter-share of the water, whereas other countries through which it flowed received much more rainfall.
Experts have estimated that Egypt could lose as much as 20 percent of its Nile water in the three to five years needed for Ethiopia to fill the dam's massive reservoir.
March 19, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi held a meeting Tuesday to review the results of the High Committee on the Nile water discussions with Ethiopia and Sudan.
The meeting took place before the signing of an agreement between the three countries regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project.
The review included experts representing ministries and agencies concerned with the draft which includes agreements between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the GERD project, a Tuesday presidential statement said.
The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hossam El-Moghazy, Minister of International Cooperation Nagla Al-Ahwani, Head of Intelligence Khaled Fawzy, and a representative from the Ministry of Defence.
Al-Sisi ordered the committee’s continued review of the agreement draft and the study of all aspects, as well as the necessary legal action on the subject.
The leaders of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia are set to sign the agreement on 23 March in Khartoum.
Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti described the agreement as an important achievement, and a step that would benefit the region, according to state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram.
Karti added Tuesday that this political agreement will be the basis on which detailed agreements will be reached. The agreements relate to technical issues currently on the table between the three eastern Nile Basin countries, concerning the utilisation of the GERD.
Cooperation between Egypt and Ethiopia has improved after years of political dispute. Egypt’s main concern since the dam’s establishment in 2011 is its water retaining capacity. Utilising more Nile water than any other country, Egypt fears the dam will have a detrimental effect on its share of the river’s water.
Following Al-Sisi’s visit to the African Union Summit last January, a committee was formed between Ethiopia and Egypt’s foreign ministries, specifically to address water issues.
Al-Sisi had received a report from Shoukry and El-Moghazy on the February Khartoum meetings with the irrigation ministers of both Sudan and Ethiopia. The ministers stressed the three countries’ ability to reach a consensus on a set of principles to be submitted to political leaders for their consideration and approval.
Shoukry also stressed that what has been achieved is an important step on the path of strengthening bilateral relations between Egypt and Ethiopia. He further highlighted the positive spirit that prevailed in the latest round of negotiations and the availability of real political will on both sides.
March 13, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir participated in Egypt’s Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) which started Friday and called on Arab nations to invest in food production in his country.
He had arrived earlier today in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where the conference is taking place, heading a high-level delegation.
Bashir’s was accompanied by the minister of presidency, Salah Wansi, foreign minister Ali Karti, finance minister Badr el-Din Mahmoud and the intelligence chief Mohamed Atta.
Bashir said in his remarks that he wants Egypt and Sudan to be the nucleus of huge animal and food production projects.
He noted the opening of border crossing with Egypt and removing tariffs and customs barriers between the two countries.
The Sudanese leader, who remains wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged Darfur war crimes charges, said that his participation in the conference stems from his country’s love to Egypt and his desire to participate in furthering the goals of this gathering.
But his appearance on stage saw an awkward moment as Kuwait’s Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and United Arab Emirates Vice President and ruler of Dubai Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum proceeded to leave the conference hall after Bashir’s name was called to take the podium and deliver his remarks.
It was not immediately clear why the two leaders chose this timing to leave. Al-Sabah has boarded the plane afterwards and returned home.
A Bloomberg reporter on Twitter said that the seat of US Secretary of State John Kerry was empty when Bashir was addressing the audience.
However, a group photo of the attendees showed Kerry standing behind Bashir.
Around 2,000 delegates from 112 nations, including 30 heads of state and executives of multinational companies will attend the event which the Egyptian government hopes will jumpstart the economy after four years of political turmoil following the 2011 uprising.
The Egyptian government plans to offer 60 investment projects worth a total of $35 billion during the three-day summit.
Arab Gulf state allies promised Egypt $12 billion in new investment and aid.
Egypt is counting on the economic summit to restore investor confidence and hopes to attract $8 billion in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) before the end of the current fiscal year ending June 30.
Sudan’s ambassador to Cairo and permanent representative at the Arab League (AL), Abdel-Haleem Abdel-Mahmood had said that Bashir’s participation in the conference comes at the invitation of his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and to reinforce the special relationship between Sudan and Egypt.
Abdel-Mahmood also pointed to the importance of the conference and the role of bilateral ties in achieving its goals, noting that cooperation between the two countries in areas of agriculture, food security, animal resources, industry and trade constitutes a key pillar to support their economies.
He added that economic and investment benefits gained from opening of the border crossings between the two countries has extended to the rest of the African and Arab areas.
The Sudanese ambassador said that Bashir will hold bilateral talks with several presidents participating in the conference.
Bashir will also discuss with Sisi ways for promoting bilateral ties ahead of the meeting of the joint presidential cooperation committee and the specialized technical committees between the two countries.
The participants performed Friday prayer at Al-Salam mosque in Sharm el-Sheikh with the participation of Al-Sissi and prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab and several other ministers and officials participating in the summit.
March 11, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has reiterated his commitment to making peace the highest priority in his new term and again urged arms bearers to return to the country.
The Sudanese army and its allied militias have been fighting Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) rebels in Blue Nile and South Kordofan since 2011 and a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003.
On March 1st, Bashir said in an electoral meeting in South Kordofan state that his government is capable of achieving peace this year through negotiations or war.
Bashir, who addressed a meeting of the national youth campaign for his reelection in Arkaweet suburb south of the capital Khartoum on Wednesday, said that Sudan has become a haven for citizens of neighboring countries who seek security.
“We welcomed South Sudanese [citizens] who sought refuge in our country [following the deadly conflict] and we did not blame them for South Sudan’s secession but we shared our food with them,” he added.
He said that peace in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan will remain top priority in his new term, adding that they seek to build a united, developed and civilized Sudanese nation.
The Sudanese president also called for combating harmful habits and reducing financial cost of marriage to enable the youth to complete half of their religion (prophet Mohamed considered marriage for a Muslim as half of his religion).
He directed the national youth committee to continue its work after elections and make simplification of marriage procedures its next project, calling for establishing a bank for the youth in order to finance their projects and create job opportunities for them.
“Our young people are manufacturing cars, airplanes and tanks and they have proven to be creative when they are given the opportunity,” he added.
March 7, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir will visit the disputed Abyei area next week within the framework of his electoral campaign for the presidential election.
Sudan’s co-chairman of Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC), Hassan Ali Nimir, told the semi-official Sudanese Media Center (SMC) on Saturday the visit will be part of Bashir’s electoral tour in West Kordofan region.
According to Nimir the candidate of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) will also visit the West Kordofan state capital, Al-Foula, and will meet the AJOC members.
In line with the 2005 peace agreement that led to the independence of South Sudan in 2011, the residents of the contested region have to decide in a referendum on whether they want to remain in Sudan or to join the new nation.
However, the two sides failed to reach an agreement on the participation of the Misseriya nomads who reside several months in the area every year.
Last month the South Sudanese Ambassador to the United Nations Francis Deng, in a speech before the Security Council criticised the organisation of elections in the contested area. But the Sudanese acting representative to the UN recalled that Abyei is part of the Sudan until the organisation of the referendum, as it is provided in the agreement.
Nimir said five political parties will participate in the legislative elections in Abyei including the National Congress Party, the Unionist Democratic Party, Federal Truth Party, United Umma Party and the National Rabat Party.
President Bashir held several meetings in Aljazira, Gadaref, Blue Nile and South Kordofan, ??? Darfur states.