The honorable participation of Prime Minister Dr. Hamdok in the meetings of the UN General Assembly last September was an event of a great significance for the Sudan, causing about a mixture of both elation and optimism amongst the Sudanese people. It was by all means, an indication that Sudan has started its trajectory of regaining and restoring its position among other countries in the international community, the dawning of a new era of a new Sudan, committed to democracy, peace and justice.
the distinguished participation of Dr.Hamdok in the work of the UNGA, took place after many years of forced isolation imposed on Sudan, as a pariah state; it was the first of its kind by a high-ranking Sudanese official; the last most senior Sudanese official who stood at the same podium at UNGA, was the former vice-president of the deposed President; namely, Ali Osman Taha in the year 2010.
three major consecutive diplomatic victories for the Sudan in regional and international fora, which ensued the Prime Minister's participation UNGA, have added more momentum and translated part of these aspirations on the ground; namely; Sudan's sweeping victory in the Human Rights Council, the historic shift of IGAD’s presidency to the Sudan and last but not the least, Norway handing over the presidency of the Mine Ban Treaty to the Sudan.
The election of the Sudan in New York to the Human Rights Council, at the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, with an overwhelming majority of 175 votes in favor, was by all standards, a sort of referendum by the international community, an honest expression of moral support for the positive reforms, Sudan is currently undertaking, in the wake of the glorious December revolution. It was similarly an announcement that doors are now wide open for Sudan, to occupy its merited seat, amidst the world community.
It wasn’t long before the media reported more promising news; that Sudan was picked to lead the IGAD; the sub-regional organization which had been chaired by Ethiopia since the year 2008. Likewise, the said victory comes in recognition and celebration of Sudan’s smooth transition to civilian rule and the exemplary courage and resilience manifested by the people of the Sudan which featured and outlined their dauntless resolve to return to civil rule.
On the other hand, the selection of Sudan at this juncture, carries with it the renewal of confidence by the member states, in Sudan’s active role in the region and its ability to push forward the outstanding objectives and aspirations of the Organization, in peace, security, stability and economic integration.
It worth noting here, Sudan’s Prime Minister, and perhaps due to his former economic background, has been always expressing concern and dissatisfaction over the long-standing neglect and exclusion of the economic dimension in our regional bloc, despite the region’s richness and diversity in terms of resources.
That becomes quite evident in comparing the region, with its counterparts the other Regional Economic Communities in Africa, in terms of economic status and the relative well-being. That inevitably caused and destined the region instead, to languish -for long periods of time - in relative poverty and backwardness, which sparked in turn the vicious spiral of violence and instability.
Hence, Lifting the profile and the level of attention on issues of economic integration among the countries of the region shall be the first priority of the new chair; Sudan has recall and deploy all its energies and expertise, to engage and tackle these multiple and complex tasks.
The moral significance of these victories and the renewal of trust, is that it announces the end of an epoch, in which Sudan has been deliberately and selectively shunned from assuming higher positions in regional and sub-regional organizations; let‘s recall for instance, how the fierce western political influence against the former regime, led by the United States and Britain, reached another culmination, by depriving the latter from assuming the presidency of the very African Union Summit, Khartoum has hosted in the year 2006, creating a marked precedence; as hosting countries usually preside the new rounds.
In stark contrast today, both the United States and UK were quick in announcing their respective welcome, to Sudan's assumption of the IGAD presidency; while Britain, through its ambassador in Khartoum Irfan Siddig, considered the choice of Dr. Hamdok to chair the IGAD, as yet another step towards the return of Sudan to its rightful place in the heart of the international community.
The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy, on his part, followed his congratulatory tweets, by expressing US aspiration and commitment to continue working with the IGAD Secretariat and Sudan, on regional issues, especially the restoration of elusive peace in the Republic of South Sudan.
Concurrently, Sudan was yet on date with another important diplomatic victory in Oslo, the Norwegian capital, where Sudan was named the president by the 164 member states of the 4th Review Meeting of the Member States of the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines.
The said meritorious election came - among other things- in recognition of the progress and success achieved by the Sudan in this field; through the declaration of mine-free zones in eastern Sudan and the coordination led by the Sudan with international partners and donors.
Arguably, These timely and quantum diplomatic breakthroughs, besides being already the unchallenged symbol of the Sudanese revolution, constituted an added confidence to the Prime Minister in his important mission in Washington. Indeed that was quite evident in his statements or meetings with his various American interlocutors, during the course of his historic six days visit to Washington.
Needless to say, the people of Sudan who still brave and endure increasingly pressing economic hardships at home - out of exceptional political maturity- have been rightly hinging wider hopes on the outcome of their Prime Minister’s visit to Washington, far beyond the rhetoric of consolation and interchange of courtesies.
They would have been seen, leaping of joy, instead - had the “get-go” signal to the initiation of procedures, for up-lifting the diplomatic representation and the exchange of ambassadors- without belittling albeit, the diplomatic significance and symbolism of this timely step, being accompanied or further directed towards the otherwise, most awaited goal and where the shoe actually pinches; initiation of “the process” of removing Sudan from the vicious list.
The greatest majority of the people of the Sudan and likewise their friends around the globe, are fully convinced that the post-revolution Sudan has already achieved all what it takes, to timely merit the long overdue “grand prix”; putting an end to the designation of the Sudan as SST. This is
Sudan’s Prime Minister Dr. Hamdok in had already made in Washington strong argument pertaining to the successes already made by his civilian – led government - in a relatively short time – including but not limited to ; engaging all peace partners and stakeholders - who are currently in Khartoum for the first time since the conflict erupted - legal and legislative reforms, reopening of humanitarian tracks and combating terrorism. Dr. Hamdok put on the table all what it takes, to encourage his interlocutors, to follow words with actions; and bring forth a logical and reciprocal paradigm shift in the American policy towards the “new” Sudan.
However, and to large extent, there still remains a sizable ambiguity, vis-à-vis the other party’s argument and reasoning; why should the issue of ending the designation of Sudan as terrorist state, continues to be so elusive and thereby destined to be shelved sine die? It should be fair to admit, that most of the preconditions place as sword on the neck of the former regime, were either satisfied - by default - by the incumbent government or otherwise, lost its validity by the actual fall of that regime.
Even if we are to consider- for the sake of argument- the current American premises pertaining to the fragility of the current political scene and that Sudan is on the verge collapse; does the continued refraining from ending the sanctions to that effect, saves the situation or otherwise exacerbates it?
Morally speaking, indeed it is important to diagnose the patient’s condition; however, aren’t values of chivalry or Samaritan tradition urge us - with the most desired speed to extend the helping hand- to save the patient? Time factor is always not in the patient's favor; hence any uncalled for delay or slowdown, shall cause his death or reduces proportionately his chances of survival.
Such enigma could have been the main reason behind, rearrangement of the agenda, pushing to the fore this time, the disputable issue of compensations to the victims of terror attacks, originally and controversially leveled against the defunct regime in Khartoum.
The thorny issue of compensations seems to have caught the Sudan in crossfire. The Prime Minister Dr. Hamdok - was actually left with little options, especially after having made publicly the warning - even before arriving in Washington - that the current residual US sanctions are hastening the collapse of his fragile country. Hence, make no mistake; Dr. Hamdok eventually had to resort to pragmatism; to choose between two evils, as far as the issue of compensations is concern.
It’s obvious that the United States remains one of the most knowledgeable concerning the mammoth size of the untapped wealth and resources in different parts of the Sudan, particularly in sectors like oil and minerals, which considerably guarantee and reap investors and capitals, with fast and mouth-watering returns.
Awaiting green signal from Washington, roads should be paved in Sudan, for American companies, capital and investments to make huge profits. A proportional percentage out of which, to name but a few, could be pipelined to a sort of both mutually agreed upon and time framed “compensation fund”. Such ideas and understandings, can transform such obstacles and the likes, into piece of cake, as the momentum of which only requires the presence of “good-faith”.