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Presidential aide seeks European support for eastern Sudan

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By Yamila Castro

May 9, 2014 (BERLIN) – A Sudanese presidential aide and government officials are in Germany seeking to strengthen relations with the European Union (EU) and gain support for Sudan’s impoverished eastern region.

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Sudanese president assistant Musa Mohamed Ahmed (Photo ST©Yamila Castro)

Musa Mohammed Ahmed, assistant to the Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir and Kamal Ismail, state minister for foreign affairs, accompanied by Sudanese officials, met with parliamentarians and diplomats this week in Berlin.

This visit was part of a European tour that also took them to Brussels and Paris, seeking to promote partnerships between the EU and the East African state and to encourage it to participate in the second donor conference for eastern Sudan development.

“We are looking forward for discussion, consultation and exchange with all European countries, in particular about projects that will enable people to reach peace and prosperity in Eastern Sudan,” Ahmed. said

The presidential assistant is also the leader of the former rebel Eastern Front. He fought against the government for near a decade before becoming one of Al-Bashir’s advisors in 2006, after the signature of a peace agreement brokered by the Eritrean government.

Following a donors conference in Kuwait in 2010, the international community pledged 600 million USD for health, water and education projects in Eastern Sudan.

The Sudanese state minister for foreign affairs pointed that “The purpose of this trip is to follow up” implementation of EU commitments.

The Sudanese delegation held meetings at the German Foreign Office, as well as with representatives from the CDU, the Green party and the private sector.

SECURITY SITUATION WORSENING

While the Sudanese officials look for support in Europe, the political stability in the country remains fragile. There are major ongoing conflicts in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. The situation in Darfur is also worsening.

According to Amnesty International “almost half a million people have been forced from their homes over the last year as violence intensified in war-torn”. Paramilitary groups have increased attacks on civilians in the last months.

After the recent anti-governmental protests in the country, international organizations are also raising awareness about the serious deterioration of human rights. In its recent report released last April, Human Rights Watch accuses the government of “unlawful killings, arbitrary detentions, ill-treatment and torture of detainees”.

Ismail denounced a negative media campaign against Sudan. “We have been accused of a hell of [a lot of] things before: terrorism, human right violations. The good thing is that all of these are accusations and when it comes to reality it does not stand any good position. We have a very good record in human rights”.

The state minister further denied the existence of Sudanese refugees abroad as result of the armed conflicts in Darfur and the Two Areas.

“There are no Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries,” Ismail said. He also minimised the gravity of the situation in Darfur.

(ST)

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