Sudan's Foreign Policy
Sudan’s Geostrategic Position:
Sudan commands an advantageous geographical position that includes:
• Nine bordering states; with Saudi Arabia across the Red Sea
• Position overlooking one of the world’s most vital water lanes (the Red Sea) The world’s longest river, the Nile, crosses Sudan from South to North.
• Position in the heart of Africa that touches the continent’s north, central, west and the east.
• Position as the link between the Arab region and Africa
World and Regional Organizations of Which Sudan is a Member:
Sudan is a member state of the United Nations (UN), the Arab League (AL), the African Union (AU), the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the Sahel and Sahara Alliance, the Inter-Governmental Association for Development and Desertification (IGADD), the Economic Commission for East and South Africa States (COMESA), the Greater Arab Free Trade Area and others. Sudan maintains diplomatic relations with most world states to advance its interests, reassert its geographic and cultural identity and contribute to regional as well as world peace and stability.
The Core Principles of Sudan’s Foreign Policy:
Sudan believes in a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and the autonomy of all nations in global politics, as well as the right of nations and peoples to relations based on common interest and mutual benefit. It also supports an international order that promotes justice, equality, human inter-dependence, sustainable development and neighborly relations.
Given its dual African-Arab heritage, and in view of its strategic geographical position as the point of confluence for the two identities, Sudan is compelled to play an active role in the regional and international communities beyond the immediate framework of safeguarding its interests, principles and commitment to conventions it has ratified.
Foreign Ministry Departments:
The Sudanese Foreign Ministry is a key ministry that enables Sudan to play its role on the international stage through its embassies and consulates abroad that promote national goals in addition to the well being of Sudanese citizens in the Diaspora.
The Foreign Ministry has evolved over the years and presently includes the following organs:
• Planning and Research
• Consular and bilateral relations
• International Cooperation
• Administrative and Financial Affairs
• Protocol Section
• Media and International Law
• National Center for Diplomatic Studies
• Specialized Administrations concerned with Sudan’s relations with African, Arab, Asian, European and American States
Challenges Facing Sudanese Diplomacy:
Sudan has certainly struggled with internal problems; including the South-North issue, Darfur and the East. Certain parties have tended to embellish the facts, thus compounding the problems and impeding the search for peace. Despite these misunderstandings on the part of certain misinformed parties, Sudanese diplomacy has patiently and meticulously pursued the country’s interests as well as the cause of a stable and secure region.
Sudan and World Organizations:
Sudan is a committed member of the UN and its founding charter and strives to fulfill its role within the world organization.
Despite complications such as UN Security Council actions regarding the Darfur dispute, Sudan has done its utmost to advance the values laid forth in the organization’s founding charter to the best of its ability.
Sudan is ultimately of the view that the UN, in order to be a more effective and body capable of truly representing all nations, must be re-structured and systematically reformed such that it reflects the global diversity. It also has to preclude domination by the few in order to meaningfully promote world peace, justice, inter-dependence and equality for the many.
Sudan’s African-Arab relations:
Sudan maintains strong diplomatic relations with Arab and African states. It has bilateral conventions and agreements in economic, trade, cultural and security areas with many such countries, and has very much benefited from its Arab and African ties. Together, Sudan and its regional allies have confronted many challenges.
Sudan resolutely supports Arab causes which include the just resolution of the plight of the Palestinians. Sudan was also active in settling inter-Arab differences, such as inter-Palestinian and inter-Lebanese disputes, particularly during its chairmanship of the Arab Summit.
Sudan also played a leading role in the process of African liberation when it co-founded the Organization of African Unity (1963) and its affiliated bodies and later the African Union. In 1986, Sudan along with other regional states founded the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD), the COMESA in 1993 and the Sahel and Sahara States Group in 1998 and chaired the latter following its third summit in Khartoum in February 2001. Thereafter, Sudan played host to the African Summit and the African-Caribbean-Pacific Summit, which included 79 states from various continents, where Sudan was elected to chair the organization for two years.
Sudan’s Multilateral Relations:
Sudan did not settle for typical relations oriented towards the West, but instead opened its doors to the entire world. It fostered close and solid ties based on common interests with China, Korea, Russia, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and other Asian nations and benefited much from these relations. These solid ties with a diverse array of nations are a core strength of Sudanese foreign policy.