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Friends of Sudan to hold donor conference next April

Friends of Sudan meet in Khartoum on 11 December 2019 (SUNA Photo)
December 11, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - In a meeting held in Khartoum Wednesday, the Friends of Sudan (FOS) voiced their support to the civilian-led government and pledged to hold a donor conference next April to make concrete financial contributions.

The FOS group has been created by the United States a month after the collapse of the al-Bashir regime to support the protesters’ demand for a civilian-led transitional authority and to bring the military council to hand over power to the opposition forces.

In a statement issued at the end of their first meeting in Khartoum, the 14 countries, three regional and international organisations and three financial institutions said they had broadly discussed how the international community can best support Sudan’s civilian-led Government to achieve peace and reforms for a successful transition to democracy.

"The Friends of Sudan expressed clear and united support for the civilian-led government and the leadership demonstrated by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and ministers," said the statement alluding to the various briefings made by Hamdok, his economy minister and the head of the peace commission.

The participants "noted that continued progress is a shared responsibility of the Sovereign Council, which is composed of both civilian and military members, and the civilian-led government," further stressed the statement reflecting the initial purpose of the group.

However, the meeting did not announce any concrete financial support as it was predicted by activists in the social media during the day.

Instead, the statement praised the "countries in the region" that have already provided generous contributions to meet the immediate and urgent needs of Sudanese, in reference to the three billion U.S dollar given by Saudi Arabia and UAE immediately after the regime change.

The statement, also, said that participants referred to their increased support to Sudan, including technical and financial support and sectoral preferences without further details.

"The Friends of Sudan made clear commitments as a group to strengthen coordination within the group and transparent engagement with the Transitional Government of Sudan, to share information on sectoral focuses of their cooperation over the short and medium terms," further said the statement.

Upon a proposition of Norway’s Special Envoy to Sudan Endre Stiansen, the FOS agreed to meet next February in Sweden, followed by a preparatory meeting in Paris in advance of the April donor conference.

"They renewed their commitment to take part in a formal pledging conference in April 2020, and agreed to revert to the issue of the host country (of the conference)," said the statement.

Several countries expressed a desire to host the donor meeting including the United States.

The meeting was attended by Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Kuwait, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States. Also, were present the African Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. For the international organisations, there were, the African Union, European Union and United Nations, The Arab League participated as an observer.