Five days full of inaugurations and shoulder to shoulder gatherings
 
By\ Mekki Elmograbi*
 
The tour reminds me of the tour of 2008 in which Western Media was extremely surprised by Al-Bashir appearance on top of a podium surrounded with tens of thousands in a region “labeled” as war-torn! 
 
President of the Republic of the Sudan Omar Al-Bashir has just concluded a five-day trip to Darfur ahead of the April 11 referendum that will decide whether Darfur is united as a region or remains five separate states. Bashir visited each of the five capital cities of the Darfur states, where he met people in several gatherings and public rallies, stood shoulder to shoulder with local people, and even danced with them to traditional music. All events were scheduled and announced in the media almost a week in advance, which indicates that the Sudanese government’s role in Darfur and the level of peace and stability in Darfur is mischaracterized in some media.
 
Al-Bashir confirmed that the government will implement the result of the referendum as it will represent the will of the people. “It is the people of Darfur who choose; we just encourage them to go to vote and participate,” he stated.
 
The referendum was one provision of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur signed in 2011, which received wide support from the international community and was adopted by the UN Security Council and the African Union. The chairman of the Darfur Regional Authority, Dr. Al-Tigani Al-Sessi called on the people of Darfur to practice their right to vote in the referendum on April 11. He highlighted the development projects that have been implemented in Darfur after the Doha Document was signed. He confirms that the Darfur Regional Authority has launched 622 projects in 40 localities in Darfur. According to the Darfur Peace Follow-up Office, the total external support to development projects in Darfur reached $1.2 billion.
 
Displaced People
President Al-Bashir declared that the state governments should give displaced people the right to settle in the refugee camps, by converting the camps and nearby areas into new cities. He also said displaced people can join the voluntary repatriation program and return to their homes. In all cases the local governments should provide basic health services, education, clean drinking water, and other services.
 
Education 
The right to education includes the right to free, compulsory  primary education  for all, which is enshrined in the Sudanese constitution. Education in Sudan is free and compulsory for children aged 6 to 13, but Al-Bashir made it clarified to encourage governments to protect the right to education, and to encourage families to allow their children to go to school up to the end of the primary school.
 
In Al-Fashir: There are three major issues in development in Darfur: transportation, trade and security. Historically, Darfur is known for its vast markets; Al-Fashir itself is named after the largest market. People bring their cattle and agricultural products and purchase what they need. The area is rich, but the best recipe for peace in Darfur is security, safe roads and organized markets.
 
President Omer Al-Bashir inaugurated a new marketplace in the eastern gate of Al-Fashir. The area is 104,000 square meters and cost SDG 24,519 million. The president declared that he will create a high committee for collecting arms because the trade movement could not survive with the spread of unlicensed arms. Now that Al-Bashir has organized markets and the road has been paved to Al-Fashir, but there is an urgent need to collect unlicensed arms. Al-Bashir also declared a ban on collecting tolls on the roads, saying that the imposition of fees on the roads has increased the prices of basic commodities and hindered the movement of goods.
 
In Nyala: President Omar Al-Bashir inaugurated some internal roads, the rehabilitated Nyala Stadium, Justice Tower, Zakat chamber buildings, new buildings at Nyala University and an electricity distributing project. He also attended the signing of a contract to implement the 95-kilometer stretch of the Western Ingaz Highway from Al-Fasher, which will connect the entire region from north to south.
 
In Geneina: the president inaugurated the Ministry of Education, the state police headquarters, new buildings at Geneina University and a number of infrastructures and services.
 
In Zalengei: Al-Bashir inaugurated Zakat Chamber, internal roads, the solar energy project and the Health Security Centre, adding that Nyala - Kas - Zalengei will be inaugurated in less than six months to contribute to the trade and people's movement between South and Central Darfur States.
 
In Al-Deain: Al-Bashir inaugurated several projects in Al-Deain, including the seat of the government, Al-Deain Airport and National Security and Intelligent Services building. The President also inaugurated the campaign of (zero thirsty) in Abu-Karinka locality as well as schools, banks, and health facilities in the locality.
 
Do you remember?
For me, this tour manifests the battle against poverty, ignorance and disease, but it reminds me of another tour. It was in July 2008, a few days after the International Criminal Court fabricate d its false indictment against President Omar Al-Bashir, in an act against the sovereignty of Sudan and the dignity of the Sudanese people. Al-Bashir’s first visit after the “ICC’s indictment” was not to Doha or Addis Ababa, not to an Arab or African ally, but it was to Darfur. He surrounded himself by Sudanese people in an open rally. All the cities and places he visited in Darfur are open to the desert and to mountains and are surrounded by displaced people camps. In some areas, people openly carry automatic guns. It was a Sudanese message that the ICC indictment was false.
Al-Bashir stood on the podium in the heart of Al-Fashir city while people were coming from the mountains and the desert, riding on camels and horses. “It is one of the strangest things has ever seen to witness Mr. Al-Bashir doing a spirited jig on top of a desk that has been set up in front of tenth of thousands people,” commented Jeffrey Gettleman of the New York Times in a video. “The question is; are these people driven by affection or fear”, he said. The videoclip is still on the New York Times website; I hope it will not be removed because it allows people to judge. Is the government able to control the crowds when someone accused of orchestrating genocide visits what the media call a war-torn region?
The countdown of the ICC started after that historical visit. Africa discovered that something was wrong after that, followed by the entire world, including India and Indonesia lately. The campaign was heavily politicized and manipulated by some political lobbies serving political interests, not human rights.
 
Facts and figures about development in Darfur in the period of the peace agreements:
 
·The number of Primary students increased from 83,893 to 1,139,000
·Secondary from 4,000 to 166,000.
·There are 14 FM Radio in Darfur and there are 10 coming soon
·The number of the Poor families receiving aid from 28 Mil to 272 mil 
·Darfur roads projects reached the cost of $2 bil 
·Fashir Niyala road  200 mil 
·The Railway $240 mil, just 14 klm remains
·451 well 300 pump
·Number of people who have Health insurance jumped from 451,000 to 2,272,000, and the Hospitals from 13 to 76 hospitals and 862 Clinics, nurses from 220 to 1720.
 
 
 
 
 
*Mekki Elmograbi
Media & Information Attaché
Embassy of the Sudan
Washington DC
+1(202)338-8565 Ex. 333
 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
 

With no rival, Enough Project has been the best example of Graham Hancock's "Lords of Poverty" by mastering the art of making business out of the suffering of innocent people. As rightly described by Hancock, Enough Project enviably succeeded in "hijacking the kindness" of some American people who sincerely and humanely sympathize with its well-crafted lies. For almost a decade, the supposedly pro-human organization has been trying tirelessly to turn this spontaneous and noble feeling of humanity into a prosperous business and a platform for fame and name.

Now that a roadmap (suggested by the African Union High Implementation Panel and officially welcomed by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon) was signed by the Government of the Republic of the Sudan and irresponsibly refused by the rebel groups, Enough Project has come out with a new campaign against the people of the Sudan instead of putting pressure on the rebel groups to sign the regionally and internationally supported roadmap aiming to put an end to the conflicts in Sudan. Such a move gives crystal clear proof that Enough Project has no sympathy for the people of the Sudanunless it comes to investing in their sufferings. In fact, it is unjustifiable for an organization which claims to advocate for peace and stability to be an obstacle to their realization.

Along with other international major players, The European Union has commended the roadmap as "an important achievement in the pursuit of peace in Sudan" and that it "outlines steps to end the conflicts in Darfur and the two areas and to establish humanitarian access, while offering a framework for a parallel political dialogue that would eventually incorporate all parties in Sudan." Meanwhile, Enough Project – with its tendentious campaign - wants to see no stability inSudan simply because achieving stability means the end of its flourishing business.

In a letter to President Barack Obama entitled "Take a New Approach to Sudan Sanctions," the organization calls on the American President to work to cut off the international funding streams from the Government of the Republic of the Sudan, a call that will deepen the suffering of the Sudanese people and prolong the conflicts on which Enough Project and its sisters live. This is the gist of the immoral campaign. If not, why has this caring "Enough" never appreciated any good developments in Sudan such as this recent roadmap supported by the whole international community?

The Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan in Washington D.C. also reminds that the rebel groups were the ones who initiated the recent attacks in Jebel Marra (with a formal recognition of the U.S State Department) and broke the cessation of hostilities in the two areas, yet the so caring Enough Project kept turning a blind eye to the irresponsibility of the rebel groups while attacking the Government for its commitment to peace and stability.  This contradictory approach of dealing with the issues of Sudanunmasks the true face of Enough Project; an organization which has no care for the people of the Sudan but to its existential interests (no conflict, no business). So Enough is enough.

 

El DAEIN, Sudan, April 5 (Xinhua) -- Despite Sudan's recent decision to treat South Sudanese national present on its territories as foreigners, around 2,000 Southerners joined a mass rally for receiving Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir at El Daein, the capital city of East Darfur State on Tuesday.

During the mass rally, the South Sudanese citizens carried banners welcoming the president, while folk bands performed folkloric dances reflecting messages of peace and fraternity.

"We do not see ourselves as strangers. We are all here as Sudanese citizens receiving our president al-Bashir," Ibrahim Weil, head of Sultans of the South Sudanese nationals in East Darfur, told Xinhua.

Weil seemed unconcerned with political decisions, saying "politics is what has divided us. Now it is apparent that the separation was a political trick. We have returned to Sudan again where we live as citizens."

Mohamed Al-Haj, an official of the Humanitarian Aid Commission in El Daein, told Xinhua that the number of South Sudanese refugees in East Darfur State is about 26,500.

East Darfur State, on the border with South Sudan, is considered a major crossing point for commodities from Sudan to the South.

It also includes Samaha and Hufrat al-Nahas areas, which are disputed over by Sudan and South Sudan.

Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese refugees fled the war, which broke out in their country in 2013, to neighboring countries including Sudan.

The South Sudanese refugees in East Darfur live at Khour Omer camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) near El Daein town. The camp also accommodates Sudanese IDPs displaced from areas in Darfur region which has been witnessing a civil war since 2003.

Iyssa Mohamed Al-Shareef, a leader at Khour Omer IDP camp, told Xinhua that "our brothers from South Sudan live with us in the camp. We do not feel they are strangers and they feel the same."

According to official statistics, around 198,000 South Sudanese fled the violence in their country to Sudan.

The majority of refugees live in the camps distributed in White Nile, East Darfur, West Kordofan and Khartoum States.

On March 17, Sudan government decided to treat the South Sudanese nationals within its territories as foreigners when receiving services, saying it would adopt legal procedures against those who do not have passports or entry visas.

The decision came contrary to a previous decision by al-Bashir to treat the South Sudanese fleeing the fighting in their country as citizens.

Recently, Khartoum escalated its accusations of Juba of supporting the rebels who are fighting Khartoum at Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

On Jan. 27, the Sudanese President issued a decision ordering to open the country's borders with South Sudan after more than four years of closure.

Sudan closed its border with South Sudan in June 2011, as Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM)/northern sector rebelled in Sudan's South Kordofan State, along the border with the South.

Khartoum then accused Juba of sheltering SPLM/northern sector rebels, in addition to providing them with logistical support via the shared border.

In September 2012, Sudan and South Sudan signed a cooperation agreement in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa under the patronage of the African Union.

The agreement included a package of understandings related to security, citizens' status, border and economic issues. However, the signed agreements did not tackle the issues of Abyei and border demarcation.

The border issue is the biggest obstacle to the settlement of differences between Sudan and South Sudan, involving around five border areas.

European Union (EU) Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica , will begin Tuesday a two day visit to Khartoum to formally announce a €100 million aid package to Sudan.
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EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica (EU Photo)

The Sudanese foreign ministry and the EU office in Khartoum announced the visit in separate statements on Monday, pointing that Mimica will inform the Sudanese government officially of the European support which aims to reduce poverty, supporting the creation of jobs and improving the delivery of basic services in peripheral and conflict-affected areas.

Sudan has been under EU sanctions since the 1989 coup d’état and didn’t receive any development aid from Europe. However, Brussels continues to provide humanitarian aid and also supports the funding of Darfur joint peacekeeping force.

However, the European body reconsidered its position following the weaves of illegal migrants from Syria, Iraq, and Horn of Africa countries. Sudan is identified as a source of migrants to Europe and a transit country for migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.

’’Our new support of €100 million will essentially focus on improving the living conditions for those who call Sudan home, helping returnees to the country to reintegrate back into society, and improving security at the border,” Minica said in a statement released before his arrival.

 

“Mimica’s visit aims to pave the way for the identification of concrete priorities and actions” that will include improving the living conditions of refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and their host communities, said the EU office in Khartoum.

The European support also will be used to enhance border controls, the fight and prevention of human trafficking and smuggling.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ambassador Ali al-Sadiq said the visiting EU official will meet the Sudanese First Vice President, interior and international cooperation ministers and the deputy foreign ministry.

“This visit comes as a result of the visit of Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour to the EU headquarters last February,” al-Sadiq said, adding “it has opened up new avenues of cooperation between Sudan and the European Union”.

Last February Ghandour was in Brussels on an invitation from the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

The two officials discussed the implementation of Valletta Action Plan adopted in November 2015 which aims to support Sudan other African countries within the framework of Khartoum process to promote development and eradicate poverty.

The €100 million aid package will be implemented under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. This Trust Fund was set up last year to tackle instability and the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement.

In addition to this support, Sudan benefits from additional funding under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, in particular from a €40 million programme to better manage migration in the region.

(ST)

Zalengui, Apr.3(SUNA)-The President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir , on Sunday, inaugurated a number of development and service projects in Zalengui, capital of Central Darfur State, within framework of his visit to the State.The projects were inaugurated by the President included premises of Zakat Chamber, interal roads, solar power station and a health center.

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