Sudan needs ‘deep’ debate before any Israel deal: PM

In this image made from UNTV video, Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Adam Hamdok speaks in a pre-recorded message which was played during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, at U.N. headquarters. (AP)
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Updated 28 September 2020

Sudan needs ‘deep’ debate before any Israel deal: PM

  • Sudan has been on the US blacklist since 1993 because of Bashir’s support for militants, including Osama bin Laden, who lived in the country for years in the 1990s before heading to Afghanistan

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has said that normalizing ties with Israel was a “complicated” issue needing wide debate within society, media reported Sunday.
Earlier this month, Israel signed US-brokered deals to normalize ties with the UAE and Bahrain.
The administration of US President Donald Trump wants Sudan to follow suit, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Khartoum in August to push a deal.
Sudan’s economy is in crisis, partly due to sanctions imposed because it is on a US blacklist as an alleged state sponsor of terrorism.
On Saturday, Hamdok was questioned by reporters on the two issues of lifting US sanctions and normalizing ties with Washington’s ally Israel.
“We spoke with the US Secretary of State and told him ‘let us separate the two tracks,’” Hamdok said, speaking on the sidelines of an economic conference in Khartoum.
“We hope for success in this matter,” he added. Sudan has been technically at war with Israel for decades.
Hamdok heads the transitional government, which came to power a year ago after Islamist president Omar Bashir was ousted, bringing together old rivals into a fragile coalition.

SPEEDREAD

Removing Sudan from the US blacklist is a priority for the government, but while some leaders are in favor of a political deal with Israel, many oppose.

Removing Sudan from the US blacklist is a priority for the government, but while some leaders are in favor of a political deal with Israel, many oppose.
Any deal with Israel potentially risks undermining Sudan’s fragile political unity.
“This is an issue that has many other complications,” Hamdok said. “It requires a deep discussion within our society.”
Sudan has been on the US blacklist since 1993 because of Bashir’s support for militants, including Osama bin Laden, who lived in the country for years in the 1990s before heading to Afghanistan.
Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, head of the transitional sovereign council, told Saturday’s conference there was an “opportunity” for change.
“We have the opportunity ... to remove Sudan from the state sponsor of terrorism list, and achieve integration within the global community,” Burhan said.


W20 stresses importance of gender inclusivity across G20 groups

Updated 30 min 45 sec ago

W20 stresses importance of gender inclusivity across G20 groups

  • Women 20 (W20) meeting was hosted by Saudi Arabia as part of its G20 presidency

RIYADH: The second day of the virtual Women 20 (W20) meeting — hosted by Saudi Arabia as part of its G20 presidency — stressed the importance of ensuring inclusivity across the G20’s different working groups.

“The women’s empowerment team at the G20 Secretariat was established by the Saudi sherpa and… my team has engaged with working groups and discussed their topics, such as finance-track development, employment, health, education, agriculture, anti-corruption, energy, the digital economy, tourism, and trade and investments,” said Hala Altuwaijri, chair of the Women's Empowerment Team at the G20 Secretariat and secretary-general of the Family Affairs Council.

She added: “What we learned from previous presidencies is that we look at female empowerment as mainstream, as cross-cutting, and that it should not be the focus of one group only. In other words, every working group should have the empowerment of women as a priority... this is what the Saudi presidency has committed to.”

Addressing gender in the workplace, Libby Lyons, director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency in Australia, said that Australia will close the equality gap at all management levels within the next 20 years.

“Forty-three percent (of) all promotions went to women last year in the private sector in Australia. The problem persists, however, for women accessing leadership positions such as CEOs and board members,” she said in a session titled “G20 Policies: Catalyzing Women's Economic Empowerment.”

Lyons’ agency has been collecting data annually for more than seven years from every organization in the private sector with more than 100 employees, giving it a clear picture of what is happening in terms of gender equality. “We must collect standardized data to track what we are doing and assess our actions,” she noted.

She said that in Australia, private enterprise is driving this change, facilitated by the government, which is a unique model. “I think that it is a lesson we can all learn,” Lyons said.

Discussing the most notable G20 commitments over the last five years, Wendy Teleki, head of We-Fi Secretariat, said that We-Fi was founded in 2017 at the G20 Hamburg Summit focused on supporting entrepreneurs around the world.

Since then, it has allocated $300 million in funds through its partners to programs that are ultimately expected to benefit more than 130,000 women, she added.

This year, We-Fi has allocated an additional $50 million and Teleki said that another $50 million “will be allocated to the issues of technology, early-stage financing, and COVID-19 relief response to empower women entrepreneurs and help them in their reliance on technology.”

Addressing the private-sector alliance, empowerment and progression of women’s economic representation, which was established last year in Japan as a means to advocate the advancement of women in the private sector, Tomoko Hayashi, director-general of the Gender Equality Bureau in the Cabinet Office said: “The Empower project…aims to increase the number of women with access to leadership positions. Also it devises actionable plans to increase the digital literacy of women in developing countries.”

She added: “COVID-19 has greatly impacted women, including (by) increasing rates of unemployment and domestic violence. At the same time, it created a great opportunity for women to change the rules of the game.”