Sudan and Europe…Development in Relations and New Phase

Sudan and Europe…Development in Relations and New Phase

Sudanese – European relations have remarkably improved recently. Ongoing level of communications between the two sides is indicative that the ties are entering into a new phase.
Priorities for both sides have changed a lot compared to previous mutual views due to conflict as well as other common issues related to illegal immigration and terrorism, which changed Europeans view on Sudan. 
Sudan considers Europe a power to reckon with. The two sides have a lot in common, and that EU is a major contributor to reconstruction and development in East Sudan and humanitarian aid, as well.
Progress in EU relations with Sudan has provoked some organizations hostile to Sudan, which heavily counted on the continuity of severed relations between Sudan and the West.
These organizations have continued to depict Sudan as plagued with conflicts; and therefore, merits punishments and regime change. they continued to support rebel movements and media campaign from time to time by lobby groups and other influential personalities – a mere indication of how terrorized such parties are.
The public opinion in Europe is more focused on internal issues and less enthusiastic about issues overseas they consider as lost case such as rebellion in Sudan.

Change motives

Observers hold that different factors have compelled Europeans to change their approach to dealing with Sudan, which was based on sanctions, boycott and isolation over the past decades.
Among many others factors, the European have become free of US hegemony which dragged the world into chaos manifested in the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, whose preemptive strikes caused further instability and insecurity. secondly the theory of necessity for central states to assume the mission of control security, stabilizing and controlling borders; in addition to supporting rebels proved to have put EU interest at stake.
Groups hostile to Sudan have lost credibility as authorities have come to believe that the propaganda led by such groups in support of rebellion has harmed Europe.

Death boats

The smuggling of illegal immigrants across the sea into Europe has brought about a radical shift in EU relations with Sudan. the agenda connected to immigration has effected a new reality – taking into account a role countries viewed as source of illegal immigration can play with Europe in this regard.
Sudan’s location constituted a key element in combating illegal immigration, especially those fleeing dire economic conditions or unrest in Libya to cross the sea into Europe, especially after the fall of Gaddafi regime; hence the need to engage Sudan in fighting illegal immigration in cooperation with EU not single EU nations.
Accordingly, Khartoum Operation was launched between EU and the African Horn countries to come up with a plan to fight and address the repercussions of illegal immigration. The plan was outlined on the margin of the First regional conference on combating human trafficking in the African Horn, held in Khartoum in October 2014.
Khartoum Operation is a joint plan between EU and other ten countries from the region of the African Horn, which exports tens of thousands of illegal immigrants; in addition to transit countries.

New era

NATO’s intervention to topple Gaddafi has created nothing but instability along the Mediterranean northern coast, Greater Sahara and Chad Lake region and beyond, which all combined are impacting stability in Europe due to growing influx of refugees crossing the Mediterranean towards EU, which in turn is feeding human trafficking networks in the absence of a central government in Libya.   
The EU has resorted to providing economic assistance to local communities in a bid to stem potential threats such as violence and human trafficking, armed conflicts, in addition its participation in emergency humanitarian relief aid operations.

New ground

The Present EU policies are more inclined to engaging Sudan and finding a common ground in aid of enhancing interest under fierce rivalry between traditional superpowers and growing powers, on one hand, and the US on the other.
exchange of visits between Sudan and EU have grown over the past, manifested in the visit by Sudanese Minister of Foreign Ibrahim Ghandour to EU Headquarters on 16-18th February, where he met EU Officer for EU foreign affairs policy as well as the deputy EU secretary of humanitarian aid and crisis management; in addition to EU commissioner for immigration, citizenship and domestic affairs.
the Head of EU mission in Sudan said the visit of Sudanese official to EU would pave the way for a lasting Sudanese-EU dialogue, adding that the visit was on the right track to rectify EU relations with Sudan and open the door to a better understanding of Sudan and the region; allow opportunities for exploring news areas of cooperation including immigration and preventing terrorism and climate change, as well as other issues related to human rights.
He noted that EU is spending estimated 150 million in Euros on 68 developmental and humanitarian projects in collaboration with the UN and Sudanese non-governmental organizations.

Notable opening-up

From the above-mentioned, it could be said that Sudanese-EU relations have remarkably improved based on clear action plans, especially with Germany, the most active EU member state working on developing diplomatic channels with Sudan, and to some degree France; in addition to Sudan’s efforts to better relations with East European countries – manifested in Sudanese minister of foreign visit to Poland last March, a first visit of its kind by a Sudanese official to the country since 40 years ago.
The ongoing developments in Sudanese foreign relations could better be painted as a “great opening-up”, which may place the country into a new phase – especially under the present EU’s preoccupation with the influx of illegal immigrants viewed as economic and social threat; as well as terrorism, namely ISIS which is striking the heart of EU, spreading terror among EU citizens — a fear they have not seen since the World Second War, only on TV.

By Editor – smc, 5 hours 7 minutes ago 

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