Chair’s Statement from the sixth Friends of Sudan meeting in Stockholm, 18 February 2020
H.E. Finance Minister Dr. Ibrahim al-Badawi and H.E. the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Sweden Amb. Robert Rydberg made opening remarks at the sixth meeting of the Friends of Sudan meeting in Stockholm on 18 February. Representatives of the Government of Sudan presented further information about the economic reform process and provided an update of the peace process. Sweden’s Deputy Director-General and Head of Africa Department Irina Schoulgin Nyoni chaired the meeting.
Representatives from the African Development Bank, Canada, Egypt, European Union, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, The Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Nations, United States, the World Bank and the Government of Sudan participated in the meeting. All participants engaged in broad discussions on how the international community can best support Sudan’s Transitional Government in its efforts to achieve peace and promote economic recovery and development.
At the end of the meeting, the Chair issued the following statement:
The Friends of Sudan expressed clear and united support for the civilian-led government and the leadership demonstrated by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and cabinet ministers. Participants recognised the many announced and initiated reforms undertaken by the Transitional Government since assuming office five months ago. They reiterated that continued progress is a shared responsibility of the Sovereign Council, which is composed of both civilian and military members, and the civilian-led Transitional Government.
The Friends of Sudan received an update of the peace process. The group welcomed the progress made and the broad participation in the negotiations. They encouraged all those involved to continue participating in good faith and maintain a flexible, compromising approach in the interest of peace. The Friends of Sudan recognised the linkage between peace and economic progress. They emphasized that the peace negotiations should not delay the formation of the Transitional Legislative Council and the appointment of civilian governors and welcomed the Government of Sudan’s recent announcement that these will be formed shortly. The Group welcomed the recent announcement of the Transitional Government of Sudan and the Sovereign Council of the intent to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court.
Participants stressed the need for meaningful participation of women in all stages of the peace process and in the broader transformation of the country. The group in this regard welcomed the commitment of the Government of Sudan and encouraged further efforts. The group also commended the Transitional Government’s continued emphasis on including youth in the transition process as well as improving the economic opportunities for youth.
The Friends of Sudan welcomed further steps taken by the Transitional Government to facilitate full access of humanitarian assistance to all conflict affected areas, as well as removal of barriers to humanitarian actors. The group welcomed the commitments made during a humanitarian donors’ meeting in January, including that donors should frontload their contributions as much as possible, that humanitarian agencies and donors should work in pursuit of a more effective humanitarian response, and the importance of sustaining and scaling up humanitarian assistance. The group agreed with the Transitional Government on the importance of combining short-term humanitarian assistance with long-term self-reliance and sustainable development.
The Friends of Sudan welcomed the further information shared by the Transitional Government relating to the budget and economic reforms. The group welcomed the further clarity on priorities while also recognizing the centrality of the national consultations in March. The group in this regard commended the commitment of the Transitional Government to ensure broad popular ownership of the reform. The group expressed strong support to the Transitional Government’s engagement with the international financial institutions, indicating the Transitional Government’s sincere engagement to improve the economic situation and prepare for debt relief.
Multiple participants confirmed their recent increase of support to Sudan, complementing the significant efforts that are already underway. A range of participants also informed of their commitment and preparation of additional substantial financial support to be provided in line with the Transitional Government’s priorities, especially the social impact mitigation programme, being critical for sustainable economic reform. The group agreed on the need to frontload also longer-term support to the transition and committed to support reforms.
The Friends of Sudan made clear commitments as a group to continue strengthening coordination within the group and enhance the transparency and engagement with the Transitional Government of Sudan.
The group reiterated the agreement at the meeting in Khartoum on 11 December 2019 that France will host the next meeting of the Friends of Sudan in April 2020. They renewed their commitment to take part in a donor conference by the first half of June 2020 and agreed that the details of the conference would be communicated shortly.