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German president pledges support to Sudan

February 27, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - German President Frank Walter Steinmeier on Thursday pledged that his country would back the democratic transition process in Sudan and support its integration in the international financial institutions.

In a rare visit by the head of a western country to Khartoum, Steinmeier was warmly received by the Sudanese leaders Abdel Fattah al-Burhan head of the Sovereign Council and Abdallah Hamdok the Premier Minister.

Sudanese who are in quest for recognition from the international community after their revolution have appreciated the various visits to Khartoum and the recent invitation for their premier to Berlin giving him the opportunity to appear with the grands of the world.

Speaking in a press conference with Hamdock, the visiting president said that his country is committed to working with the Friends of Sudan group "to remove barriers to cooperation with international financial institutions and remove Sudan from the sanctions lists that prevent German companies from cooperating with it," he said.

Steinmeier was hinting to the U.S. sanctions which are more and more difficult to understand for the ordinary people after reports - widely echoed in Khartoum - about an expected judgment by the Supreme Court confirming over $10 billion of compensation their poor country has to pay.

He further called on the international community to enable Sudan to gain access to the international financial institutions saying that the officials leading the transitional government are not responsible for the problems caused by the previous regime.

This must be overcome and that the Sudanese people and its government should not bear these charges, he further said confirming what Sudanese repeat every day when they speak about the difficulties they face on a daily basis.

"There is a historic opportunity for Sudan, and we are interested in using it to improve the living conditions and prosperity of Sudanese," he said in German translated in Arabic.

He pointed out that they must act quickly to ensure Sudan’s access to international financing institutions, and to open the way for loans, noting that there is no other way than to involve the international financial institutions and Sudan obtaining loans.
Steinmeier, however, pledged Berlin’s support for Sudan as a reliable partner in the development and economic cooperation after the vote by the German parliament "Bundestag" authorizing the resumption of development cooperation with Sudan after 30 years of ban.

President Steinmeier said that German companies would resume investment activities in Sudan and announced his country’s readiness to implement the agreement between the German Ministry of Development Cooperation and Sudan to provide 80 million Euros to support vocational training for young people.

He said that this support the first step and there are additional efforts by the German Foreign Minister to support peace in Sudan, and bilateral cooperation in the areas of education and governance.

For his part, Sudanese Electricity Transmission Company (SETCO) General Director Salim Mohamed Mahjoub, told the official SUNA that Germany will rehabilitate the main control centre for the Sudan Electricity Network.

Expressing his support for the democratic transition in Sudan the German president said that Sudanese should be proud of the revolution they made

"The Sudanese people should be proud of overthrowing a humiliating regime that they have suffered a lot from, and my visit today comes out of respect for these people."

For his part, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok reassured President Steinmeier that Sudanese are determined to move forward despite the economic difficulties they face.

"The change that took place in Sudan is radical and profound as it has covered all parts of Sudan."

"We have two options during this transition, either crossing successfully, or crossing successfully," he stressed

He said that the reform of the army and security institutions is essential and is one of the transitional agendas in accordance with the Constitutional Document.

He said that the ongoing efforts to achieve peace in Juba require this reform, given that the negotiations include the security arrangements chapter, which deals with the integration of the armed groups in the national army.

In his meeting with the head of the Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Steinmeier affirmed his country’s support for Sudan’s efforts to overcome the challenges facing it.

He stressed that it is not fair for the current government to be held accountable for the economic hardships caused by others and to isolate Sudan from the world.

In turn, al-Burhan described Steinmeier’s visit as a "strong signal" of Germany’s support to Sudan.

"We seek to be partners with Germany and the European Union," and called for support to remove his country from the United States’ list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.

Before his visit to Khartoum, the German president pointed out that it was important for the international community to support and show solidarity with Sudanese people

"It is important now to show first that the path they are taking now is a brave one, and that we value and support it," he said.

Before his departure to Berlin on Friday morning he will py a visit to a power station in Khartoum state.