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Sudan Foreign Relations during 2011

President’s foreign activity and major shift in Sudan’s relations with sisterly countries in Africa and Arab countries

President’s foreign trips during 2011 dealt a powerful blow to the ICC

The absence of Mubarak and Qadaffi from the Arab and African scene helped normalizing Sudan’s relations with Egypt, Libya and Chad

Sudan’s foreign relations during the previous year witnessed major events that required intensive activity including briefing accredited ambassadors, diplomatic campaigns in Europe and Africa and participation in regional and international forums

During 2011, Foreign Minister visited most European countries that have links to the Sudanese issue

Sudan’s relations witnessed major developments during the year 2011 particularly after the secession of the South which overshadowed the progress of diplomatic activity at the presidential and external levels. The President and his deputy undertook several visits to highlight Sudan’s stance towards local, regional and international developments. Also, the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs engaged in intensive diplomatic activity within and outside Sudan.

Blows dealt to the ICC:

Sudanese President’s foreign trips coupled with the open international activity had directed powerful blows to the International Criminal Court (ICC). During 2011, despite an outcry from the ICC Prosecutor and self-styled activists, the President visited many countries signatory to the Rome Statute including Chad, Kenya and Malawi which received him in line with requirements of international immunity and directives of the AU. This period saw growing voices of objections to the ICC, with some African countries going to the extent of demanding withdrawal from the ICC.

The Presidency:

Due to the repercussions of the referendum and its political and security reflections on the Sudan in addition to their overlapping with anti-Sudan agenda of foreign countries, the President and his deputy stepped up coordination with the countries bound by strategic goals and joint interests with the Sudan. The Presidency Establishment undertook landmark visits during the year 2011, namely:

Qatar:

Qatar has played a pivotal role in Sudanese issues through its initiative to address the crisis in Darfur. Its efforts culminated in the conclusion of the Doha Document for peace in Darfur which received wide international acclamation. For the sake of more coordination between the two countries, President Al-Bashir visited Qatar on 13 December 2011, which was returned by Emir of Qatar, Hamad Ben Khalifa A’l-Thani, who arrived in Khartoum in November 2011.

China:

President Al-Bashir’s visit to China was not only a major event for Sudan but it was also a major development for the world. It was seen as defiance to the ICC which had failed to prevent Al-Bashir from discharging his presidential duties. The President’s visit to China on 27 July 2011 was a landmark foreign activity. 

Iran:

President Al-Bashir visited Iran on July 2011 and was accorded a warm reception and relations between the two countries witnessed major developments during this year. President of Iran, Ahmadinejad paid a historic visit to Khartoum on 26 September 2011 where the two Presidents discussed many dossiers, with strategic regional and international dimensions.

Egypt:

In March 2011, President Al-Bashir visited Cairo and he was the first president to visit the country after the uprising that overthrew President Mubarak regime. The outbreak of the uprising in Egypt has given relations between Sudan and Egypt a major fillip, raising them to their highest ever level. Many visits followed and the First Vice President (FVP) Ali Osman Mohamed Taha visited Egypt in October 2011.

Libya:

One of the major regional developments was that Sudan-Libya relations turned cordial, after the fall of the Qaddafi regime and the visit of the FVP to Libya on 30 September 2011.

Exchange of Visits:

2011 was the year of positive shifts as far as Sudan foreign relations are concerned. The absence of Presidents Mubarak and Qaddafi from the political scene contributed towards normalization of relations between Egypt, Libya and Chad. Chairman of the Libyan National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul Jaleel, visited Sudan on 25 November 2011. The first Prime Minister after the Egyptian Uprising, Essam Sharaf, visited Sudan on 27 March 2011. Chadian President, Idriss Deby, visited Khartoum on 5 December 2011.

Also, international envoys, political and parliamentary figures and media personalities from Europe, America, Asia and Africa visited the Sudan. Senator John Kerry was the most prominent figure who visited Sudan on 5 January 2011.

Sudanese Diplomacy:

Sudan’s foreign relations during the previous year witnessed major events that required intensive activity including briefing accredited ambassadors, diplomatic campaigns in Europe and Africa and participation in regional and international forums. The Sudanese diplomacy intensified its visit to Europe in particular. During the year 2011, the Sudanese Foreign Minister visited most European countries which had links with the Sudanese issues particularly France which he visited in October 2011 besides Sudan’s participation in regional and international summits and conferences. Sudan participated in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meetings on 22 September 2011 and the AU summit in Guinea on 21 July 2011.

Also, Sudan participated in Arab League meetings intended to discuss a way-out from the crises in Yemen, Syria, Libya, Tunis and other Arab countries where political tensions were building up.

These are the most prominent external events during the year 2011.


By Mohammed Abdallah, 31/12/2011

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