Check against delivery!
Thank you for this opportunity. I would like to start by paying tribute to the Sudanese people: women and youth in particular, who fought for peaceful change and for the ideals of freedom, peace and justice.
During my visit to Sudan last February, engaging with members of the civil society and students at Khartoum University, I was struck by their resilience, aspirations and determination.
It is thanks to their efforts and sacrifices that we are facing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring Sudan back on track in terms of peace, democratic governance and economic recovery.
Sudan is today a light of hope in Africa and the transition process towards a fully democratic dispensation needs to be strongly supported and carefully nourished. We cannot fail the Sudanese people.
I want to acknowledge the leadership of Prime Minister [of Sudan, Abdalla] Hamdok. All actors and political forces should align themselves in support of the Prime Minister. I call on the military to protect and support the transition. I call on the armed groups not to miss this opportunity to be part of the new Sudan, I call the Forces For Freedom and Change to maintain unity and cohesion on the road to reforms and elections.
This, altogether, should allow for the swift establishment of the Transitional Legislative Council and the appointment of civilian state governors, as strong democratic institutions are key to any political transition.
There have been many important legal reforms already achieved such as the criminalization of Female Genital Mutilation. But despite the difficult context, further exacerbated by the pandemic, political reforms need to continue.
This is why the European Union –besides our support to the Office of the Prime Minister– will also become the main donor to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Sudan to ensure that the Government has the necessary tools and capacity to advance with the political reform agenda. The European Union also stands ready to assist Sudan with the upcoming elections.
The economic track also needs to deliver. Unhappily, we have seen too often in the past how political transitions have been undermined by the lack of economic deliverables and dividends of the peace brought to the population. Whenever transitions have failed, the bill for the international community has been finally considerably higher. Thus, supporting Sudan’s transition here and now –because now is the time to do so- is not only an expression of solidarity, but an investment which is worth making for Sudan, for stability and development in the region, from Libya to the Central African Republic, from Egypt to Ethiopia, in order to set a reference for the world.
In the run-up to this conference, we have been encouraged by the commitment of the international community at large to help Sudan at such critical juncture.
I call on all partners to work together to allow Sudan’s transformation and its reintegration in the international financial system. Our presence today will show -I hope- our collective determination from Europe to the Gulf, from North America to Asia.
From our part, the European Union will be putting forward a sizeable pledge as a continuation of our strong support to the transition and commitment to improving the lives of the Sudanese population.
I thank you for your attention.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-192471