Sudan’s Geostrategic Position
Sudan’s commands an advantageous geographical position and is merited with:
- Nine states border Sudan; and also overlooks Saudi Arabia across the Red Sea
- Overlooks one of the world’s most vital water lanes (the Red Sea) The world’s longest river crosses Sudan from South to North.
- Lies in the heart of Africa and touches the north, central, west and the east.
- It’s 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) and the Greater Arab Free Trade Area and others. Sudan maintains diplomatic relations with all world states to advance its interests, reassert its geographic and cultural identity and activity and contribute to regional and world peace and stability.
The Mainstay of Sudan’s Foreign Policy
Sudan believes in a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, their autonomy in global politics, the right of nations and people 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 one that strengthens and encourages neighborly relations.
Given its dual Africa-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 global and regional communities beyond the immediate framework of safeguarding its interests, principles and commitment to conventions it has ratified.
Foreign Ministry and Departments:
The Sudanese Foreign Ministry is a key ministry that enables Sudan to play its role at the international stage through its embassies and consulates abroad that promote National goals and 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 to the Sudanese Diplomacy:
Sudan has certainly struggled with internal problems; South, Darfur and the East. The international media however has tended to embellish the facts, thus compounding the problems and making the search for peace elusive. The world has been divided between those who understand Sudan’s situation fully and those who seek to exploit the situation and smear the country, a campaign led by several Human Rights Organizations.
Despite the overwhelming hysteria, Sudanese diplomacy has patiently and meticulously defended against this onslaught and has tried to set the record straight.
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. Following the development of certain events in modern history, including the emergence of a sole super power, Sudan has more than once found itself the frivolous subject of the Security council. Yet, Sudan’s allies have been steadfast in their defense.
The UN Security Council resolution 1706 that ordered the deployment of the international force in Darfur was rejected by Sudan precisely because it infringed on national sovereignty and delegates significant authority to these forces. Sudan fought this resolution through diplomacy at the international and regional arenas to express its concern on the matter. This led to a new round of talks with the UN and the African Union when the latter agreed to extend the mandate of its force in Darfur. Negotiations yielded an agreement that stipulated three support packages by the UN to AU forces in Darfur. The agreement created the hybrid force. This was included in UN resolution 1769 accepted by Sudan, which assured the world body of its cooperation. UN secretary Ban Ki Moon visited Sudan, praising the country’s acceptance of the hybrid force and cooperation with the world organization.
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 a few in order to meaningfully promote world peace, justice, inter-dependence and equality.
Sudan’s African-Arab relations
Sudan maintains diplomatic relations with Arab and African states. It has bilateral conventions and agreements in economic, trade, cultural and security areas. Sudan has very much benefited from its Arab and African ties. We’ve together confronted many challenges and they’ve played indispensable role internationally in defense of Sudan. Likewise.
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, e.g 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 affiliated bodies and later the African Union. In 1986, Sudan along with other countries 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, African-Caribbean-Pacific Summit, including 79 states from various continents, where Sudan was elected to chair this group for two years. Today, Sudan cooperates with the African Union in Darfur.
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. This is precisely why Sudan has been able to withstand the age-old aggression of and attempts at isolation by the West.