Tough decisions are ‘surgery’ Sudan needs to prosper: PM

Tough decisions are ‘surgery’ Sudan needs to prosper: PM
Hamdok pointed to the severe economic and internal issues still faced by Khartoum as reasons for caution. (Reuters)
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Updated 30 September 2021

Tough decisions are ‘surgery’ Sudan needs to prosper: PM

Tough decisions are ‘surgery’ Sudan needs to prosper: PM
  • ‘There will be no reversal’ in aftermath of failed coup attempt, Abdalla Hamdok tells UN
  • Saudi FM: ‘Kingdom continues to be at forefront of global efforts to facilitate peaceful transition in Sudan’

LONDON: Sudan is passing through “multiple transitions” in its efforts to move on from the 2019 ouster of Omar Bashir, but progress is fragile, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said on Thursday.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly High-Level Side Event on Sudan, he highlighted the great strides made by the country in putting a peace plan in place, rebuilding the economy, reforming public sector institutions, balancing foreign policy, establishing a legislative council and moving toward full democracy.

But Hamdok pointed to the severe economic and internal issues still faced by Khartoum as reasons for caution.

“Sudan is … transitioning from war and conflict to peace, economic collapse and hardships to prosperity, from dictatorship to democracy and good governance, and from isolation, relinking to the world,” he said.

Last week’s failed coup attempt is a reminder of Sudan’s fragility, with Hamdok saying: “I’d like to convey our profound thanks and appreciation to … all our international and regional partners for their utmost solidarity for the transitional government in condemning and denouncing the aborted military coup attempt … With your support, and the resolve of our people, there will be no reversal.”

He added: “The No. 1 challenge is to get it right in the peace process. There are a number of issues here. Many armed groups, negotiations, regional and international actors and all that, complicate things.

“On the economic front, we’ve inherited a collapsing economy, serious macroeconomic imbalances. If I may just flag one indicator, today we collect less than 6 percent tax to GDP (gross domestic product) … You can’t run a decent government on that level of taxation.”

He said further serious public sector reform is needed but strides have been made elsewhere, with Sudan recently taken off the list of global state sponsors of terrorism, and reforming swathes of its legal codes to bring up to date laws on apostasy, taxation, debt consolation, and recovery of stolen assets from abroad. “We knew these are very important decisions. It’s a surgery, but we had to go through it,” he added.

The talk was attended by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and dignitaries from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, the US, the EU and France, among others.

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan congratulated the people of Sudan on the reforms that the country has undertaken since 2019, saying the Kingdom remains keen to work closely with Khartoum as a provider of crucial aid, and as a mediating partner in the peace process.

“In April 2019, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia declared its unwavering solidarity with the people of Sudan and the choices they made for their future. We accorded the highest importance to Sudan’s peace and stability in the face of the many challenges it faced,” he said.

“The Kingdom continues to be at the forefront of global efforts to facilitate peaceful transition in Sudan. We’re proud of our work as part of the Friends of Sudan group.”

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry echoed the prince’s sentiments, highlighting the importance of establishing strong institutions to secure Sudan’s long-term prosperity and security.

“Egypt commends the steps taken by the government of Sudan to enact various macroeconomic reforms, and calls on all international partners to foster Sudan’s economic development,” he added.

Economic prosperity was a theme also picked up on by other speakers, with Samantha Power, administrator of the US Agency for International Development, urging the international community to use investment to “shepherd” Sudan through its transition.

Bankole Adeoye, the African Union’s commissioner for political affairs, peace and security, raised the specter of violence potentially derailing the peace process, highlighting increasing conflict in Darfur.

He said Sudan’s economic recovery is crucial to ensuring such an outcome is avoided. This was echoed by Mansur Muhtar, vice president of the Islamic Development Bank, and the World Bank’s Ousmane Dione, who called the current moment a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to put Sudan on the path toward “sustained prosperity.”

Maged Abdelaziz, permanent observer of the League of Arab States, said its members stand alongside Sudan to defend its sovereignty over its borders and its water rights, in reference to the dispute with Ethiopia over the Grand Renaissance Dam.


US won't resume assistance to Sudan without civilian government

US won't resume assistance to Sudan without civilian government
Updated 7 sec ago

US won't resume assistance to Sudan without civilian government

US won't resume assistance to Sudan without civilian government

CAIRO: The United States will not resume economic assistance to Sudan that was paused after a coup unless there is an end to violence and a civilian-led government is restored, a statement posted by the US embassy in Khartoum on Thursday said.
The statement on a visit to Sudan by Assistant Secretary of State Molly Phee and Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa David Satterfield said the United States would consider measures to hold accountable those responsible for failure to move forward on a political process. 


UAE confirms 3,014 new COVID-19 cases

UAE confirms 3,014 new COVID-19 cases
Updated 20 January 2022

UAE confirms 3,014 new COVID-19 cases

UAE confirms 3,014 new COVID-19 cases
  • The UAE has one of the world’s highest vaccination rates at 233.98 doses administered per 100 people

DUBAI: The UAE on Thursday confirmed 3,014 new coronavirus infections, pushing active cases to 50,010 in the country.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention also said that 4 patients died as a result of COVID-19 complications.

An additional 1,067 individuals have recovered.

The country’s caseload stands at 816,945 known confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 2,204 deaths since the pandemic started.

The UAE has one of the world’s highest vaccination rates, at 233.98 doses administered per 100 people, with 23,141,751 vaccines provided so far.

Despite this, health authorities continue the call for residents to adhere to basic health and prevention protocols, including social distancing and wearing masks.

The World Health Organization earlier said new infections globally have increased by 20 percent over the past week, with nearly 19 million total reported cases, mostly attributed to the omicron variant.


Egypt FM outlines plans for COP27 climate summit

Egypt FM outlines plans for COP27 climate summit
Updated 20 January 2022

Egypt FM outlines plans for COP27 climate summit

Egypt FM outlines plans for COP27 climate summit

CAIRO: Egypt Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has urged the global community to “move from the stage of pledges to the stage of actual implementation” on initiatives to combat climate change.

Shoukry, the president-designate of the UN climate change summit (COP27) to be held in Egypt in November 2022, held a phone discussion with Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to outline Egypt’s preparations for the presidency of the next summit.

Following the talks Shoukry said that Egypt intends to build on the achievements of the Glasgow COP26 forum and "harness the rising international momentum to confront climate change."

He said that Egypt plans to take a leadership role in global climate action in coming months, as previously highlighted by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi during the last session of the World Youth Forum.

Espinosa praised the work and coordination at all levels to enhance international efforts on climate change and ensure the next session of the conference in Egypt is a success.


Storm blankets Syrian tented camps in snow, at least one child dead

Storm blankets Syrian tented camps in snow, at least one child dead
Updated 57 min 30 sec ago

Storm blankets Syrian tented camps in snow, at least one child dead

Storm blankets Syrian tented camps in snow, at least one child dead
  • The child died and its mother was in intensive care after snow caused their tent to collapse in the Qastal Miqdad area

ZAITOUN CAMP, Syria: At least one child was killed in northern Syria this week when a storm blanketed tented camps in snow and brought freezing temperatures, compounding the misery of thousands of people displaced by the Mediterranean country’s decade-long war.
The child died and its mother was in intensive care after snow caused their tent to collapse in the Qastal Miqdad area, as a result of the storm that struck on Jan. 18, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.
Two children were hospitalized due to the cold, it said.
“I was scared the tent would fall down on the kids,” Abu Anas said in Zaitoun camp in northern Syria, after his family fled from eastern Gouta, an area on the outskirts of Damascus that was devastated by the conflict.
“It is a miserable situation. No heating, a tent that is not suitable even for animals. Our situation is bad,” he said after Storm Hiba struck.
In his camp, people laid stones across puddles to create footpaths.
The United Nations, which warned about flooding once the snow started to melt, said 362 tents had been damaged in the region as of Jan. 19 and more than 400 families had been affected.
In the northern camp of Abraz, one of the worst affected places, families had to be evacuated, the United Nations said.
The storm also disrupted life elsewhere in Syria. In government-held areas, universities and other educational institutions postponed exams. Syria’s ports temporarily closed.
Syria’s civil war has killed hundreds of thousands of people, forced millions to flee their homes, creating one of the worst refugee crises since World War Two.
With Russian backing, the Syrian government has regained control of most of the country, driving rebel opponents to pockets of territory in the north.


Cruise missiles, drones used in Houthi attack on Abu Dhabi says ambassador

Cruise missiles, drones used in Houthi attack on Abu Dhabi says ambassador
Updated 20 January 2022

Cruise missiles, drones used in Houthi attack on Abu Dhabi says ambassador

Cruise missiles, drones used in Houthi attack on Abu Dhabi says ambassador

DUBAI: The Houthi attacks targeting civilian sites in Abu Dhabi were carried out with a battery of weapons including cruise missiles, and drones, the UAE Ambassador to Washington Yousef Al-Otaiba said.

It is the first time the UAE has said missiles were used in Monday’s attack in which three people were killed and seven others were injured.

The Houthi militia launched a number of drones and ballistic missiles, causing three tankers to explode near storage facilities owned by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC).

There was also a fire at a construction site at Abu Dhabi during the attack.

Al-Otaiba said the UAE intercepted some of the missiles.

Earlier, the ambassador called on the US to Support re-designating the militia as a terrorist Organization.

In response to the attacks, US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday his administration was considering re-designating the Houthis an international terrorist organization.

The UAE had "long left the Yemen war," Otaiba said in his comments to JINSA. "Attacking a country that is not in combat makes a very clear case" to reinstate the Houthi terrorist designation.