March 29, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will travel to Sudan on Wednesday in a one-day visit, it was announced here today.
- Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani attends the 25th Arab Summit in Kuwait City, March 25, 2014 (REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed)
The Sudanese ambassador in Doha Yasser Youssef told state media (SUNA) that al-Thani will be accompanied by a high level delegation which will hold talks with president Omer Hassan al-Bashir on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest.
He hailed the strong ties between the two countries specially in the fields of agriculture, mining, antiquities besides the coordination in most of international issues.
This would be the Emir’s first visit to Sudan since he assumed power last year after his father voluntarily relinquished power to him.
The trip comes amid diplomatic fallout between Qatar and other Gulf states including UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain after they accused Doha of failing to abide by an accord not to interfere in each others’ internal affairs.
The three Gulf states are believed to be angry at Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement whose ideology challenges the principle of conservative dynastic rule long dominant in the Gulf.
A source close to Qatar’s government told Reuters this month the dispute had more to do with issues in the wider Middle East such as the crises in Egypt and Syria, than about matters affecting fellow Gulf states.
The Sudanese presidency this week said that the trip was pre-planned and not linked to the dispute between Qatar and other Gulf states.
Qatar is one of the main political and economic backers of Sudan’s Islamist government and has hosted Darfur peace talks which resulted in a peace accord signed in 2011 known as the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) between Khartoum and Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) headed by Tijani el-Sissi.
On Thursday, the US special envoy to Sudans Donald Booth met with Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Ahmad bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud for discussions on Darfur.
Qatar news agency (QNA) said the two sides reviewed the latest developments of the Darfur peace process and efforts to include in it the non-signatory parties to the DDPD in order to join the document-based peace process and participate in the national dialogue.
The pact’s effectiveness have recently come scrutiny in lights of growing insecurity in Darfur.
El-Sissi, who is now the head of Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), warned against the rapidly deteriorating security situation in North and South Darfur states and criticized government for failing to restore security in the region, which has witnessed rebellion since 2003.
The Darfuri figure said that the insecurity in North and South Darfur hampers the implementation of development projects. "What happens there will not be a catalyst to start in any reconstruction effort in those areas," he added.
He urged the federal government to take the necessary measures to contain the attacks carried by the rebel groups emphasizing that the continuation of the current situation without decisive riposte or (political) solution will negatively impact the DDPD, peace in Darfur and the country in general.
This month the US ambassador at the UN Samantha Power, who addressed an African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) meeting reportedly called on council members to find an alternative forum to resolve the Darfur crisis, saying the DDPD has become outdated and cannot be relied on.
Sudan slammed Power’s remarks saying that Washington announced its support for the DDPD only after it became isolated following the large support which was offered by African nations, Arab world, Islamic world, and the United Nations, saying that support yielded approval of the DDPD by the UN Security Council (UNSC) and a call for non-signatories to immediately and unconditionally join it.