International support for Sudan is critical as the country continues on the path to democratic transition, amid challenges that include political disagreements, economic decline, and the COVID-19 pandemic, UN political affairs chief, Rosemary DiCarlo told a virtual meeting of the Security Council on Tuesday.
Ambassadors were updated on developments since the signing in October of a milestone peace agreement between the authorities and two armed movements from Darfur, and on the potential drawdown of the UN-African Union force in the province, known as UNAMID.
“Sudan is at a critical juncture. It can move forward decisively in its transition, but that progress can still be derailed by the many challenges it faces. It is incumbent on all of us to support Sudan in its efforts to achieve democratic governance, economic prosperity and an inclusive society for all Sudanese”, said Ms. DiCarlo.
This month will mark two years since the Sudanese Revolution, which led to the overthrow of longstanding leader, Omar Al-Bashir, in April 2019. A joint military-civilian body, known as the Sovereign Council, is ruling the country until elections can be held.
Despite progress, Ms. DiCarlo reported political forces in Sudan are increasingly fragmented. Disagreements have surfaced following the recent establishment of a new body, the Council of Partners for the Transitional Period, while formation of the Transitional Legislative Council has been postponed until 31 December.
Sudan has also experienced severe economic decline, partly due to a five-month shutdown to prevent coronavirus spread. As a result, public revenues dropped while spending on emergency health programmes increased, contributing to a growing budget deficit of roughly $250 million each month.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has further aggravated the humanitarian needs, also driven by severe flooding, intercommunal violence and prolonged displacement”, she continued.
“In recent weeks, over 48,000 people have fled the Ethiopian conflict in the Tigray region and have sought refuge in Sudan. This has put an additional strain on the Sudanese authorities.”
The UN Political Affairs chief again welcomed the intention by the United States to rescind Sudan’s designation as a State sponsor of terrorism, which will open up access to critical international financial assistance.