Khartoum (Muawad Rashid-Neimat alNaiem) – Norwegian Special Representative to Sudan and South Sudan
who arrived in Sudan on 7th October 2017, to take part in the AU/IGAD Strategic Consultative meeting which was held in Khartoum in the period 8th- 10th October to discuss peace, security and development in the Horn of Africa.
Sudan Vision Managing Editor Muawad Mustafa Rashid and the Senior Reporter Neimat alNaiem caught up with H.E Ambassador Erling Skjonsberg, Norwegian Special Representative to Sudan and South Sudan, Ambassador in the Section for the Horn of Africa and West Africa to highlight the impacts of the decision of lifting US economic unilateral sanctions on Sudan, and participation in the AU/IGAD meeting .The brief interview was attended by H.E Bard Hopland, the Royal Norwegian Ambassador to Sudan.
The Norwegian Ambassador described the lifting of sanctions as a very good start for new era for Sudan. He said we have been working for this decision of lifting US sanctions. He pointed out that they have been in a long dialogue with the Sudanese Government, encouraging the government to cooperate with US in lifting sanctions. He added that Norway already had developing programs in Sudan, which he expects to increase and they will continue in this field.
In regard to investment in Sudan, H.E Bard, explained that the Sudanese Minister of investment will take part in a meeting in Business schedule to organize in Oslo in the period from 25th-26th October 2017, that will be of course an opportunity to mobilize interest of Sudan in the region business, the Norwegian Ambassador said .
He believes that sanctions had negative impact on Sudan, concerning banking transactions and this is also important to the private sector. He thinks that Sudan has a lot to do in term of economic reform, currency, monitoring policies, and also economic policies, and he thinks that is the main element. H.E Bard believes that lifting of sanctions is a very good start for Sudan.
On the meeting of the AU/IGAD in Khartoum Mr. Erling Skjonsberg, Norwegian Special Representative to Sudan and South Sudan, affirmed that the organizing of this meeting in Khartoum is a recognition to importance of Sudan as major player in term of peace, security and stability and development in the Horn of Africa. H.E Erling disclosed that the meeting of the Horn of Africa will be attended by high level officials including the African Union Commission Chief Musa Faki, head of AUHIP, Thabo Mbeki along with other experts and intellectuals to discuss the longstanding and emerging peace, security challenges in the Horn of Africa.
Erling expressed his great pleasure to be in Sudan, conveying congratulations to the Sudan Government and Sudanese people for lifting US sanctions on 6th October. He described it as a very good beginning for Sudan, adding that the twenty years of sanctions requires more serious efforts pointed to Sudan commitment with the five tracks.
Regards to Norway assistance and cooperation to Sudan, H.E Erling described them as active, and it is not declined or affected by the session of the South Sudan 2011, as mentioned in the news .He assured that the timing of hold AU/IGAD meeting in Khartoum is good after the lifting of US sanctions. The decision will create new opportunities, politically, economically.
As his expectations from the AU/IGAD meeting, he briefed on what is the meeting to discuss in its three days 8th-10th October 2017, as part of its objective is discuss how the Horn Countries cooperate to persecute peace and development in the Horn of Africa .
As terrorism, human traffic, illegal migration issues threatening Africa in general, H.E the Norwegian Special Representative to Sudan and South Sudan said that the meeting covers many topics including Longstanding and emerging peace and security challenges in the Horn of Africa, strategic trends in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea Arena, peace mission in the Horn of Africa. Prospects for regional Integration: the peace and development nexus in the Horn of Africa.
Organizing this conference in Khartoum right now is a kind of recognition of the importance of Sudan in this region, and the importance of Sudan being an active player a major player with other countries in the region for peace and stability in the region, said H.E Erling .He added that the decision of lifting US sanction on 6th is considered more contribution to the importance of Sudan in the region.
In regards to the strategic situation importance of the Horn of Africa for the Afro-Arab world and the whole world, and what is expected role play, the Norwegian official explained that it is the AU conference and the African should do more for their region. He assured his pleasure that the meeting in Khartoum, the atmosphere is good, pointing out to the high level participation of Musa Faki Mahamat the AU Commission chairman, Thabo Mbeki, chairman of AUHIP, Ambassador Mahboub Maalim, Executive Secretary of IGAD, Prof. Ibrahim Ghandur, Sudan Minister of Foreign Affairs.
As recommendations to come out from the meeting H.E Erling noted to that AU chairman expects to do more for the Horn of Africa. He expressed Norway great support to the AU.