Omer B. Abu Haraz – Khartoum
Three important visits happened in one week. It is believed that the three visits are landmarks in the relations of Sudan with Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Both visits will have prolonged effects on Sudan in the near future, the two dimensional effects – economy and security.
The first two visits were with Egypt. President Al-Sisi visited Sudan early last week and met with 1st Lt. Gen. Al-Burhan and PM Dr. Hamadok.
PM Hamadok paid the second reciprocated visit to Egypt at the end of the same week.
The third important visit was that of a high level delegation led by PM Hamadok to KSA. This visit constitutes the first dimension – economy.
Hamadok received an exceptionally warm welcome by the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who held a meeting with the Sudanese delegation few hours after arrival.
The outcome of the two-day visit was a real helping hand from KSA to quickly mitigate the precarious deterioration in the economy of Sudan by the generous response of the Crown Prince to resume the aborted US$1.5 billion grant to Sudan and to establish an investment fund for long term Saudi projects in Sudan, in agriculture, animal resources, and petrochemical industries.
KSA will start the fund by depositing US$3.0 billion. This outcome of the visit is a clear manifestation of the leaning of the KSA to the civilian component of the Sudanese revolution.
Sudan is lucky in benefiting from the slight difference between KSA and should not offset the whole KSA strategy by trying to be in the grey area between UAE, Qatar and KSA.
They should not pick-up the Crown prince’s genuine and brave leaning to the civilian component without jeopardizing his support by trying to appease the other two by rhetoric or detrimental meaningless visits of Sudanese ministers.
The visit of President Al-Sisi to Sudan and the shortly reciprocated visit of Dr. Hamadok to Egypt constitute the second dimension effect – security.
Relations between Sudan and Egypt are historically erratic since the independence of Sudan (1956). Unfortunately the erratic relation continued after the December 2018 revolution due to the diversity in beliefs and the ideological strategies of the components of the revolution.
The two reciprocated visits between Sudan and Egypt were well planned by the Egyptian intelligence and policy-makers.
The two visits were designed to resolve two and only two bones of contention – trade (especially border trade) and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) conflict.
Trade and bilateral relations were fully resolved and the two countries will enjoy equal mutual benefits that will equitably adjust the balance of trade between the two countries.
The other and important aspect of the planned visits is the GERD. The final communiqué of the visits is a unified stand on the GERD issue.
What draws the attention is the timing of the two visits which was preceded by high level Egyptian top brass officers and the revival of a new Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA-N) in a new look which ousted the chairman comrade Agar and the Secretary-general Arman who joined the governance of Sudan after Juba Peace Agreement.
A new military leadership was announced last week. It is important to correlate the resurrection of the new SPLA-N activities in their occupied land on the east border with Ethiopia about 15 kilometers from the GERD site!
To wrap-up, the visits to KSA and Egypt are definitely landmarks which will shape the future of Sudan.