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German Bundestag authorizes resumption of economic cooperation with Sudan

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German Parliament building, the Bundestag (AP-photo file)February 13, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The German parliament, the Bundestag, ended a ban of economic cooperation with Sudan on Thursday paving the way for the government of Angela Merkel to support the east African country after a collapse of the regime of Omer al-Bashir.

Germany like many other western countries stopped economic cooperation and development aid programme to Sudan after the Islamist coup that overturned a democratically elected government on 30 June 1989.

Since there is no German financial and technical cooperation to Sudan. All the development programmes, contribution to the European efforts to against human trafficking and peace programmes are implemented via international regional, and non-governmental organisations.

Upon an initiative by the Foreign minister who was the first western official to visit Khartoum in September 2019, the Bundestag has authorized the resumption of economic cooperation with Sudan.

In his speech before the federal parliament, Heiko Maas underlined the need to support the Sudanese transitional government to overcome the difficult path towards democracy and economic development.

He told the German lawmaker that during his three-day visit to Khartoum, he clearly understood that the success of the democratic transition in Sudan relies largely on the support that the international community can provide.

"Achieving peace in Sudan and economic reforms: these are the two major priorities that the interim government has set. So, our support is based on this programme," he said.

The resolution vote by the ruling coalition provides to resume development cooperation with Sudan and providing political, economic, financial and technical support to develop infrastructure and good governance in Sudan.

In Khartoum, the Sudanese government welcomed the decision of the German parliament, as it is under heavy popular pressure due to the difficult economic situation and lack of international support.

"The Government of the Republic of Sudan welcomes the decision of the German Parliament, issued on Thursday 13 February to resume and expand economic and development relations with Sudan after a three-decade suspension," said the foreign ministry in a statement.

Also, Sudanese Prime Minister who left Khartoum Thursday evening to Berlin will meet on Friday with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The two heads of government are expected to discuss economic and political support to the ongoing peace and democratic reforms.

A number of decisions on bilateral relations will be announced after the meeting.

Maas told the Bundestag that his government offered to continue mediating Sudan peace process and to support the drafting process of the Sudanese constitution by the Max Planck Foundation.

Germany which a non-permanent member to the UN Security Council will also support Sudan’s request for a UN peace support operation to help Sudan to implement peace and democratic reforms, he further said.

The volume of trade between Germany and Sudan is very low. In 2018, Germany exported goods worth 156.2 million Euros to Sudan (rank 107). During the same period, Sudan exported goods to a value of only 14.6 million Euros to Germany, according to the German foreign ministry.

(ST)

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