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Mending the Relations between Sudan and USA: New Popular Diplomacy

Siddiq Dallai – Khartoum

The role of popular diplomacy is not less significant than the role of official diplomacy; both work for strengthening the relations with other countries.

The Council of International People’s Friendship (CIPF) is one of the most powerful tools for strengthening relations with other nations through the popular friendship associations under its umbrella.

It is aspired that the council plays an active role during the transitional period, through reflecting the bright image of Sudan and its people in terms of culture, arts, and other tools.

The Sudanese/American Friendship Association has launched its line of action for the period 2021 – 2025 in its new round following December’s glorious revolution and after lifting Sudan from the SST.

Enormous Activities

The Secretary-General of the CIPF, Salwa Mohammed Mahjoub, pointed out that the Sudanese/American Friendship Association is one of the oldest associations in the Council, adding that it had conducted several activities besides receiving several American delegations, on top of which is a workshop on the bilateral relations between Sudan and the USA, participated by university professors.

Launched in 2017, the association has participated in the regular festival of friendships with the nations.

According to Salwa, the Sudanese/American Association can play an important role especially after lifting Sudan from the SST.

Rapid Response to the Aspirations

The Secretary-General of the Sudanese/American Friendship Association, Ali Abarsi, affirmed that the role of the association will be more significant than the official role, considering that the association reflects the popular feelings.

It also found welcome from the US delegations during their meetings with the Sudanese Employers Federation.

Abarsi expressed appreciation to the youth and their revolution, which led to retrieving Sudanese glories, adding that they want the US to protect the Sudanese new born democracy, besides providing support to the Sudanese economy and industry.

He affirmed that sisterly countries, which he did not mention, attempted to hinder the improvement of relations with the US Administration, but December’s glorious revolution managed to place Sudan in its deserved position.

He called for the independence of the Sudanese decision in its foreign relations, adding that they want mutual interest with all the countries without any exclusion, especially with the US Administration.

Abarsi affirmed that the formation of the Sudanese/American Friendship Association is a start for strong relations which meet the aspirations of youthful hopefuls getting scholarships in US educational institutions.

Historical Relations

Abarsi spoke about the history of the relations between the two countries, affirming that the first Sudanese president, Ibrahim Abboud, visited the US and was introduced by the US then president John Kennedy to the US Congress, adding that at the end of that historic visit the US president asked on how to provide support to Sudan.

Abboud said that Sudan wants the friendship of the US people as at that time the surplus in the Sudanese budget was 80 million sterling pound, a matter that astonished the US president, but he was keen to provide Sudan with aid, starting with the construction of Khartoum/Medani highway, along with the US aid main road in Khartoum North.

Crucial Role

The chairman of the Sudanese/American Friendship Association in the Council of International People’s Friendship (CIPF), Sami Al-Jaali, said that the association was established according to the CIPF Act, adding that this round is the first after the revolution, affirming that it will be different especially after lifting Sudan from the SST list.

He said that the association will play a crucial role in improving the relations between the people of the two countries through the popular diplomacy, which will serve as the integration to the official diplomacy.

Al-Jaali pointed to the keenness of the US embassy in cooperating with the association, adding that the association includes 7 secretariats (economy, leading businesses, etc).

He said that they held several meetings with the US embassy and government officials, revealing the organization of economic forum under the auspices of the association on the challenges facing the banking sector after lifting Sudan from the SST list on the first week of current March.

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