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Senior UN official welcomes positive developments in Sudan, warns of tough road ahead


UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) — UN Undersecretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo on Friday welcomed the recent positive developments in Sudan, and warned of tough tasks ahead.

Sudan’s political transition continues to move in the right direction. In recent weeks, important legislative reforms were adopted to improve fundamental rights. Interim civilian governors were appointed in all 18 states, including two women, she told the Security Council in a briefing.

The most significant political development was the initialing, on Aug. 31 in Juba, of the peace agreement between the transitional government of Sudan, the Sudan Revolutionary Front alliance and the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minnawi faction, she said.

Furthermore, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the Abdelaziz al-Hilu faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North signed “The Agreement on Principles” in Addis Ababa on Sept. 3, she added.

All participating parties should be commended for having persevered with the peace process amid the range of other pressures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who are absent from the ongoing peace efforts in the country should be encouraged to engage in dialogue and negotiations with the transitional authorities. It is not too late, said DiCarlo.

However, she warned that there are many challenges on the road ahead.

The various accords and respective peace agreements on regional issues must be molded into a single, coherent framework. Additionally, the parties and the government must form a joint vision on the way forward and to uphold their respective commitments, she said.

At a time when all governments face major economic constraints, it will be important to set realistic expectations of what can be provided to finance peace dividends. Participants in the Berlin Partnership Conference were generous in their support to Sudan’s transition but signaled that the impact of COVID-19 had reduced donor capacity, she noted.

The transitional government declared an economic state of emergency on Sept. 10 after a collapse in the Sudanese pound. This announcement followed months of soaring inflation, a spiraling exchange rate and continuing shortages of basic commodities, she noted.

Frustration with the state of the economy is growing, as evidenced by the re-emergence of protests across the country. Meanwhile, outstanding issues regarding economic management of the crisis lead at times to tensions between different components of the government, said DiCarlo.

Despite these immense challenges, the government has been able to make progress in undertaking difficult economic reforms. These changes, such as the removal of subsidies on fuel, form part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund that brings Sudan closer to debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country initiative, she said.

Since the start of the rainy season in July, Sudan has faced its worst flooding in decades, with 730,000 people affected, of which more than 100 died, she said.

Between June and September, the projected number of food insecure people rose to 9.6 million, due in part to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated ongoing inflation and price increases for food and other goods, she said.

DiCarlo said the planning for the establishment of the new UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) is progressing.

The mission start-up team for UNITAMS will deploy to Sudan next month to begin implementing the four strategic objectives mandated by the Security Council: assist the political transition; support peace processes; assist peacebuilding, civilian protection and rule of law; and support the mobilization of economic, development and humanitarian assistance, she said.


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