Egypt weighs position as mediator in Sudan disaster

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Egypt referred to as on the events to the political battle in Sudan to participate in selecting a brand new, consensual transitional prime minister in preparation for the formation of a brand new Cabinet as quickly as potential.

Egypt introduced its assist for a United Nations initiative for a dialogue between the political actors in Sudan, in a bid to reach a deal that ends the present political disaster. The initiative has been extensively welcomed on the worldwide degree, together with by the United States and the United Kingdom.

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Sudan is struggling by its fragile transitional part to a civilian democratic authorities, following the favored protests in April 2019 that overthrew a decadeslong dictatorship.

Egypt mentioned that the dialogue between the political events would clear up the present disaster and stop the nation from slipping into chaos, based on a Jan. 8 assertion by the Foreign Ministry.

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Egypt expressed readiness to assist the following transitional authorities “in all possible ways,” and harassed that “Sudan’s security and stability are an integral part of Egypt’s and the region’s security and stability.”

On Jan. 13, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper quoted an unnamed Egyptian supply as saying that Cairo has begun to accentuate its contacts with the events to the disaster in Sudan, in an effort to play a mediating position to reach an settlement that ensures the continuation of the transitional part and the choice of a consensual prime minister till the completion of the democratic transition course of within the nation. 

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Sudan has been going by a state of political instability and insecurity for the reason that army coup in October 2021, by which the military seized energy, ending a power-sharing association with civilian companions in governance and which was geared toward paving the way in which for democratic elections.

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNITAMS Volker Perthes mentioned that the initiative can be restricted to holding oblique and particular person preliminary consultations among the many Sudanese stakeholders, within the hope for transferring to a second stage of direct or oblique negotiations. He advised reporters Jan. 10 that the military didn’t specific any objection to the initiative.

But Perthes mentioned that the initiative is not going to current any political challenge, draft settlement or proposal to resolve the political disaster, as its position can be restricted to facilitating the political course of.

UN officers are asking the Sudanese stakeholders to submit their visions to move ahead within the course of, within the hope of converging views on factors of settlement and disagreement on the finish of the talks.

However, the pro-democracy teams and political events that have been ousted from energy refuse any direct talks with the army and demand the institution of civilian rule with none partnership with the army.

Osman Mirghani, a Sudanese political analyst, mentioned that the UN initiative got here at a time when Sudan is affected by a whole political blockage and there’s no likelihood of inter-Sudanese dialogue.

He advised Al-Monitor that the repression of demonstrators demanding the withdrawal of the military from politics and the ensuing casualties sophisticated the state of affairs and heightened stress between the civilian and army parts. The initiative might result in dialogue in order to reach an answer earlier than hitting some extent of no return, he mentioned.

The present political scene was additional sophisticated after Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok resigned in early January, weeks after his return to workplace below a controversial settlement with military leaders.

In the midst of the military coup in October, Hamdok was positioned below home arrest, earlier than he returned to workplace Nov. 21, following a take care of the military chief, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. Yet protesters rejected the settlement or any partnership with the army.

Under this deal, Hamdok was supposed to steer a authorities of technocrats till holding the elections in early 2024.

The 15 members of the UN Security Council, in a session held Jan. 12, expressed their assist for the UN initiative to finish the disaster in Sudan. During the Security Council session, Perthes referred to as for ending the state of emergency in Sudan so as to create an surroundings conducive to dialogue, stressing that this initiative is “the last glimmer of hope in the country.”

Kholood Khair, managing accomplice of the Khartoum-based Insight Strategy Partners, a suppose tank that focuses on transitional coverage, advised Al-Monitor that there’s a lack of dedication from the UN to the inclusive dialogue course of — as they launched the initiative with out session and haven’t spelled out their imaginative and prescient for the way the method can be formed — and reliance on too few worldwide actors to assist this.

She mentioned, “Perthes has also lost a lot of credibility with the street after supporting the 21 November agreement [that reinstated Hamdok to his position] and telling the Sudanese that they should back it, even though it was a deeply flawed agreement.”

Khair added, “The commitment of the generals to this process should be measured by the level of state repression that the generals allow during protests. The security forces are meting out violent repression toward protesters, which is not going to build confidence in a process the generals are buying into.”

The protesters have been taking to the streets regularly to demand the establishment of civilian rule. Paramedics close to pro-democracy groups reported that more than 60 people have died in the clashes with security services since the October coup.

While the UN initiative is considered the only serious effort that is currently being made to resolve the political crisis in Sudan, Egypt continues to distance itself from the Sudanese crisis.

Mirghani said that although Sudan is an important part of the Egyptian national security, Cairo’s involvement in the Sudanese crisis is very limited compared to the other regional and international actors that seem more influential.

He noted that the Egyptian role is currently important in contributing to a settlement of the current crisis, considering that Egypt is more capable than any other country in understanding the nature of the political situation in Sudan due to the historical relations between the two countries.

Mirghani added that Cairo is trying to balance its position due to sensitivities that may arise among some Sudanese political elites regarding support for the military at this stage, and thus this may prevent Egypt from dealing with Sudanese issues as it should.

Egypt did not condemn the army’s takeover of power. Instead, it only called on the Sudanese stakeholders for calm and to exercise self-restraint, according to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs a few hours after the coup. Cairo called on “all Sudanese parties to give priority to the supreme interest of the country through national consensus.”

Meanwhile, the Egyptian place is taken into account according to the positions of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), because the leaders of the three international locations had shut relations with the leaders of the Sudanese military.

In the start, the three international locations restricted themselves to calling on the Sudanese events for calm and exercising self-restraint. But the place of the UAE and Saudi Arabia rapidly modified once they signed a joint statement that also included the United States and the United Kingdom. The Quartet statement in November called for the “full and immediate restoration of a civilian-led transitional government.”

The Wall Street Journal reported in November that Burhan secretly visited Egypt on the night of taking over power and met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as part of a geopolitical move to garner support for his step.

The Egyptian authorities did not comment on the Journal report, but Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry confirmed later that his country does not support one side against another, and that Egypt supports Sudan’s stability and focuses on not meddling in its internal affairs.

Tarek Fahmy, professor of political science at Cairo University, told Al-Monitor, “Egypt is inclined to support the military component in Sudan.” But he denied that this rapprochement could be evidence of Egyptian reservations about the civilian component.

“Throughout the past period [before the coup], Cairo had good relations with the civilian and military components, which was reflected in their contacts and meetings,” he noted.

Fahmy said that announcing Egyptian support for one party at the expense of another would make Cairo lose its credibility. Egypt has not done so because of its special relations with Sudan. “The nature of the Egyptian position on the situation in Sudan is in line with the choices of the Sudanese people, and it continues to support the transitional phase,” he added.

However, Khair said, “Out of the Arab axis, Egypt is perhaps the most pro-military as a principle not just a strategy.”

She noted, “Egypt’s preference for the military stems from many things, most notably those related to historical ties between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Egyptian army. In addition, Egypt sees Sudan as its hinterland and an extension of its direct sphere of influence.”

Khair attributed the third reason to the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, as Egypt considers it a national security issue linked to their survival, so Cairo needs to secure full assist from Sudan and proceed coordination between the 2 international locations to place strain on Ethiopia.

However, Khair concluded, “In the end it is possible that the Arab axis will seek a replacement for Burhan, as he is unable to unite all security actors, or bring about stability to meet the interests of his foreign backers.”


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