New Sudanese prime minister makes assured debut on the world stage

Abdalla Hamdok is using UNGA to begin forming relationships which could form the bedrock of Sudan's future democratic development

FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2019 file photo, Sudan's new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok speaks during a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan. Sudan's newly appointed prime minister is launching an independent investigation into the deadly crackdown on protesters earlier in June. Hamdok said late Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, that the seven-member committee includes a top judge, an independent figure and two attorneys. (AP Photo, File)
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The rehabilitation of Sudan as a full member of the international community was started by Abdalla Hamdok, the new prime minister, at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meetings in New York.

Mr Hamdok signed undertakings with a variety of the UN bodies as well aligning Khartoum to a British-government-promoted Global Pledge to Defend Media Freedom.

“I attended UNGA with the aim of sending a message to world leaders that Sudan, which has been absent from the international congregations for a long time, is back to take its place and occupy its leading role among nations,” he said.

The country’s leader for nearly 30 years until his ousting in April this year, president Omar Bashir, was wanted for war crimes and the country was added to the US list of State Sponsors of Terrorism in 1993.

Sudan’s continued designation means it cannot receive assistance from the World Bank or IMF to help its crippled economy recover.

Mr Hamdok, who was installed as leader after months of protest that overthrew the Bashir regime, signed accords with the UN’s refugee organisation and its human rights representative.

He also met with international partners including the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi.

"We hope Sudan can realise national peace, stability and development at an early date," said Mr Wang.

At a conference on media freedom, Mr Hamdok made a pledge that Sudan had turned its back on its repressive past.

“Our revolutionary slogan is freedom, peace and justice. We came from very far, we have inherited an ugly legacy,” he said. “This would never have been possible a few months ago. It was an extremely repressive environment.”

Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said he was pleased to secure access to the country, still scarred by insurgencies and internal conflict.

“Sudan’s transition offers a real opportunity to find solutions for Sudanese refugees in the region, and for refugees from neighbouring countries hosted by Sudan. I look forward to working closely, constructively with his government,” he said.

Mr Hamdok is pleading for his nation to be removed from the state sponsor of terror list.

The support of international institutions for the economy during the transition is a big challenge in that context. “Financial aid alone does not contribute to the development and revival of Sudan,” Mr Hamdok said. “It is important to help Sudan make use of its own diverse resources and replenish its economic infrastructure so as to achieve sustainable development

A meeting with the World Bank was described as constructive. “The World Bank Group is pleased to co-ordinate with the new transitional Government of Sudan as they work to promote growth and reduce poverty,” declared the World Bank president David Malpass.

Egypt’s Abdel Fattah El Sisi used a portion of his UN address on Tuesday to appeal on his neighbour’s behalf.

"I make a call to delete Sudan from the list of nations that are state sponsors of terrorism," he said. "Sudan should take the place it deserves among the international community."

Former US president Jimmy Carter has echoed these sentiments. “Continuing economic deprivation may lead frustrations to boil over once again,” he wrote for CNN.

“Hamdok needs to demonstrate that the civilian government can improve people's lives.”