May 11, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The European Union (EU) envoy in Khartoum Tomas Ulicny said today that countries in the EU have a desire to build strong relations with Sudan through a “fair and genuine” dialogue between the two sides.
“Frank dialogue with the European Union and its member states is essential to address problems, find and implement positive solutions both in Sudan and in the region. Fair and genuine dialogue can breathe a new air in our relations,” Ulicny said at a diplomatic reception in Khartoum organized to celebrate the European Year for Development and Europe Day.
“It needs commitment by all and will only succeed if we all believe in the importance of good relations between Sudan and the European Union,” he added.
“In the wake of alarming developments in Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, South Sudan and Central African Republic we are interested in strengthening of productive cooperation and coordination with the regional actors including Sudan and its Government to sustain peaceful and comprehensive locally-driven solutions that will achieve resolution, progress and stability. A genuine dialogue on these issues would undoubtedly contribute to deepening of confidence and relations between Sudan and the EU and its member states”.
The European diplomat stressed that the EU would like to see a democratic, conflict-free and prosperous Sudan that recognizes diversity and respects human rights.
He took note of the national dialogue process initiated by president Omer Hassan al-Bashir more than a year ago but which appears to be faltering amid boycott by most opposition parties.
“The European Union put high stakes on the success of Sudanese national dialogue. Our position has been made clear to all stakeholders since the beginning, and in particular since January 2014, when dialogue about peace, governance, economy and identity was announced. The EU supports a comprehensive, transparent and inclusive political process in Sudan, held in conducive environment and accompanied by confidence building measures. We remain committed to this position,” he said.
“In spite of current setbacks, the project of the national dialogue remains important to us because if succeeded it will result in a peaceful and stable Sudan setting the right example in the years to come. The process might be interrupted, delayed, it can go temporarily off the track but it has to remain in place and nobody should feel excluded,” Ulicny added.
He made no mention however of the elections held last month which the EU declined to monitor and announced that it will not recognize. This position drew strong condemnation by Sudanese officials.
The envoy vowed to support Sudanese people specially those in conflict zones by bridging “humanitarian and development assistance, change nature of our projects from emergency response to long-term development projects”.
He recalled EU’s support to livestock, food security and rural developmental projects to support the Sudanese economy and “combat poverty and provide better perspective for our beneficiaries”.
“We are implementing projects for natural and water resources management, to help the country better protect its environment, as well as share resources among communities and save their limited resources for generations to come. The evidence is tonight’s signing of our new project implemented by UNEP/UNOPS aimed at improvement of livelihood of thousands people in East Darfur”.
“As an evidence of our long-standing continuous cooperation with the government we have signed earlier today with the Ministers of Finance and Trade a common project funded by 1, 4 million Euros with aim to contribute to the expansion of Sudanese exports into the regional and international markets”.
Ulicny also said that the EU is ready to cooperate with Sudan in combating terrorism and prevent radicalization.
“Radicalization and terrorism are common threats to Sudan and Europe. Terrorism damages relations, it resists progress, it kills hope and it only increases chaos and violence. We should join our efforts to make world a better place to live”.