A closed roundtable Discussion on the Developments in the Republic of Sudan
On Tuesday, the 29th of January, 2019, a closed roundtable discussion was held by the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA) on “The developments in the Republic of Sudan”. The discussion was moderated by Ambassador Dr. Mounir Zahran, Chairman of the Council, in addition to an elite of the members of the Council interested in Sudanese affairs, including; Ambassador Marwan Badr, Ambassador Mohamed Abdel Mon’em El-Shazly, Ambassador Ali Al-Hefny, Ambassador Dr.Mohamed Badr El-Deen Zayed, and Dr. El-Sayed Flaifel, Member of the House of Representatives.
Members from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who also Participated: Ambassador Osama Shaltout, Assistant of Foreign Minister for Sudanese Affairs, and Minister Plenipotentiary, Mr. Osama El-Hadi, Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister for Sudanese Affairs.
Firstly- Roots of the Crisis: The economic dimensions constitute the cornerstone of interpretation of the crisis of the Sudanese regime. The dimensions of the crisis are due to the continuation of the economic sanctions imposed by the United States, the burdens on the Sudanese economy that have been caused by the inflated numbers of displaced persons from the neighboring countries, the US dollar surge, lack of currency reserves anchored to the newly issued currency notes, inflation of annual deficit, and the failed and disorganized policies of the regime.
Continuing the protests, launching the demonstrations from outside Khartoum at the beginning, and joining these demonstrations by parties and professional associations, have given them a strength that is unprecedented in Sudanese situations. After such relatively longstanding persistence; the success of the regime, in containment of these demonstrations, is unlikely, without significant external support; and that is what could not be achieved by Al-Bashir’s external visits which included Qatar and Egypt.
There are 3 possible scenarios:
The first scenario: Al-Bashir’s success in regaining his control over the political system.
The second scenario: The occurrence of a coup d’état from within the regime and the overthrow of Al-Bashir, with the ruling political forces, associated with Islamist currents, remaining in power.
The third scenario: Is the overthrow of the regime, whether by the state of chaos, or by the success of army members, from the second sector, in taking over power.
4- Egypt’s position is critical; Just as Al-Bashir historically caused great harm to both countries’ relations, the scenario of chaos and the displacement of large numbers of Sudanese to Egypt bears a lot of risks and burdens to Egypt and Sudan’s neighboring countries, with the deep awareness of the success of Al-Bashir’s regime in recruiting large cadres that are hostile to Egypt, particularly those in positions of executive power at various levels.
To be cautious at the current stage regarding messages of support to the regime, and any future aids should seem as being directed to the Sudanese people and not to the regime.
Encouragement of opening calm communication channels between the Egyptian civil Society, research centers, some of the civil society channels, and University Professors with the Sudanese opposition and the civil society forces participating in the demonstrations.
Maintaining the status quo regarding the relations with the Sudanese residing in Egypt, but all this should not prevent the avoidance of exaggerating the restrictions imposed over the Sudanese at the current stage, without taking any new humanitarian steps that might encourage more displacement and movement towards Egypt.
The significance of communicating with the Sufi movements in Sudan, taking into consideration the historical relations between such movements in both countries, revitalizing both Nile Valley people’s relations through proposed programs in the fields of culture, arts and sports, and activating links and communications of graduates from Egyptian universities and Al-Azhar with African graduates.
In case of regime collapse and the scenario of chaos that follows; Egypt must be prepared to act calmly and wisely to aid the Sudanese people in arranging their situation and facing the challenges, as well as thinking of playing exceptional roles that are managed in a politically balanced manner.