54 ETATS.FR exclusive interview with Abdul Rahman al Sadiq al Mahdi, the Assistant to the President of the Republic of Sudan. It deal with Sudan, Sudanese Politics, ICC, Economic sanctions, Economic sector. News

Exclusive Interview with Abdul Rahman Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, the Assistant President of the Republic of Sudan

“How can a corrupt person be assigned with issues regarding international justice? This Court is a politicized Court”

54 ETATS.FR just made in Paris, an exclusive interview with Abdul Rahman al Sadiq al Mahdi, the Assistant to the President of the Republic of Sudan. It deal with Sudan, Sudanese Politics, and some others international questions.

Priscilla Wolmer: Firstly, a question regarding the Sudanese migrants in Europe. Did the French authorities expel Sudanese dissidents after their identification by Khartoum?

Abdul Rahman Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi: Thank you, I’m happy to be with you. It is not true. No, we have very good cooperation with the French government concerning voluntary repatriation to facilitate the return of those who wants to go back voluntarily to Sudan.

“We have very good cooperation with the French government concerning voluntary repatriation”

Priscilla WOLMER: Is there a risk of Sudanese returnees?

Abdul Rahman Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi: Again, my answer is no. On the contrary, we have established programs to aid their reintegration into the society, enabling them with projects, allowing them a dignified life in their community.

Priscilla WOLMER: Why do some of them require international protection?

Abdul Rahman Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi: It is true that some of them when they migrate, they come to Europe and they try to justify their presence by giving a lot of false information like they were escaping persecution and claim that they need protection to make their cases stronger for political assylum. Most of them come for economic reasons. They come to Europe seeking wealth, better quality of life, good services. That is why we call on the European countries to help developing countries to achieve development, consequently that would contribute in fighting illegal migration.

Priscilla WOLMER: More precisely, what are the reasons that motivate the Sudanese who are arriving in Europe to leave their country?

Abdul Rahman Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi: Europe is attractive. Not only for Sudanese but for many people from the third world where they find good services, Health, Education for them and for their children. Thus, its natural for the Youth from the third world try to come to Europe.

Priscilla WOLMER: What is the situation on the ground today regarding peace in Darfur?

Abdul Rahman Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi: Thank God, the situation is stable and peaceful in Sudan. Especially after President Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir's initiative of The National Dialogue. This initiative is considered the most important strategic project after Independence because it aims at including and taking on board all the views and opinions of all Sudanese, even those who are taking up arms against the government. This initiative resulted in a number of recommendations, which were widely accepted, and now we are at the stage of implementing these recommendations.

Priscilla WOLMER: So there is no armed Conflict?

Abdul Rahman Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi: The situation is under full control in Darfur. The presence and the effect of the armed movements is very weak. There are some elements that belong to the rebel movements remaining in South Sudan and in Libya but they have no impact on the situation in Sudan. The government has also started the collection and control of arms in Darfour. As you know, the spread of Arms is a major factor for instability. The instability in neighbouring countries, like South Sudan and Libya, allows for the entrance of unauthorized vehicles and arms through the borders. Having now taken control of the borders we have put and end to this phenomenon of infiltration , I can say that the situation is under full control in Darfur, stable and peaceful.

“The situation is under full control in Darfur”

Priscilla WOLMER: On the Economic sector in Sudan. The Sudanese economy, is heavily dependent on oil and is thus facing a serious crisis since the collapse of oil prices in 2014. The US economic embargo does not help this situation. How does Sudan and the Sudanese deal with this economic scenario?

Abdul Rahman Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi: The Economy of Sudan does not depend on oil. Sudan is an agricultural country. It is blessed with substantial resources in agriculture. It has been known for a long time as being the granary of the world. Sudan, along with Australia and Canada are the three countries which can insure and provide food security for the whole world. Sudan is also blessed with a substantial potential of mineral resources. During the first year following the secession of South Sudan, the revenue of gold was estimated as three billion US dollars. In other words, Sudan does not depend on oil, it depends on agriculture, mineral and livestock resources.

“Sudan does not depend on oil, it depends on agriculture, mineral and livestock resources ”

Sudan is very rich in livestock! The number of livestock in Sudan is three or four times that of the population of Sudan, estimated to be one hundred fifty million.

Priscilla WOLMER: On the Economic sanctions. Trump said more time is needed to review easing of trade embargo, amid the lack of key personnel to assess policy and calls for new engagement plan. Facing off strong opposition to take immediate action, Trump said that more time was needed to review the easing of trade sanctions in January by Barack Obama, who put Khartoum on a six-month review period. The end of this time will be in few days. Do you think the lifting of sanctions is imminent?

Abdul Rahman Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi: Yes, we are hopeful that these sanctions will be lifted. We have excellent cooperation with the United States. Discussions now are focused on how to proceed after the sanctions are lifted.

Priscilla WOLMER: What is your relationship with the new US administration?

Abdul Rahman Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi: Our relation with the new US administration is a very constructive relation. We have good relations, good cooperation. I can say it’s a good engagement between the two countries.

Priscilla WOLMER: What kind of assistance or cooperation does Sudan need and from whom?

Abdul Rahman Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi: As I said before, Sudan enjoys a lot of resources. What we need is to invite foreign direct investment to come to Sudan to invest, bring capital. This will serve mutual interests not only for Sudan but for the entire humanity.

Priscilla WOLMER: About ICC. Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir is wanted to appear before the ICC. The ICC against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity and in 2010 for genocide, both linked to Darfur, where violence has 300,000 dead since 2003, has issued two mandates. In the same time former ICC prosecutor suspected of tax concealment. Luis Moreno Ocampo, a former anti-corruption activist, allegedly concealed three offshore accounts while serving at the ICC. A function that allowed him to track the African Heads of State including President Omar al Bashir, before handing over file to the prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. A word about this scoop?

Abdul Rahman Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi: You have rightly said it! Luis Moreno Ocampo has concealed and hides three personal accounts, that show that this person is corrupt. How can a corrupt person be assigned with issues regarding international justice? This Court is a politicized court. We need to reform the concept of Justice, we need to reform the international system, to ensure peaceful cohabitation for all of us. We need to work together, to fight terrorism and illegal trafficking of Humans and a number of phenomena which are threatening humanity. Unless and until we reform the international system, we will not be able to talk about international justice. Again, this politicized organ, the ICC, should be part of this reform and reform also should consider assigning people who have credibility, who are not corrupt like Luis Moreno Ocampo.

“How can a corrupt person be assigned with issues regarding international justice? This Court is a politicized Court”

Priscilla WOLMER: That I understand was a scoop for you!

Priscilla WOLMER: What is your opinion on nuclear test in North Korea?

Abdul Rahman Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi: Sudan believes in the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and we condemn these tests. Sudan fully supports the United Nations. In particular, the Security Council resolutions on North Korea. We need a peaceful world for the benefit of everybody.

“Sudan believes in the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and we condemn these tests”

Priscilla WOLMER: On war in Libya… Recently, France and Tunisia received General Haftar. What do you think of the capacity of Haftar to solve the situation in Libya?

Abdul Rahman Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi: We are not supporting Haftar.

"We are not supporting Haftar"

We think he doesn’t have any legality, no capability to be useful to achieve peace and security in Libya. Mainly because he uses negative forces, he uses illegal forces that are mercenaries. Now, I’m telling you that he is using mercenaries who belong to the Sudanese rebel movements in Libya. Such forces will not be credible or useful to achieve peace and security in Libya.

Priscilla WOLMER: These are strong accusations. Do you have any evidences to prove that?

Abdul Rahman Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi: Yes, we do have a lot of evidence. We have information on logistics, vehicles, money which he provided the rebels in Darfur with. The United Nations knows about his relation with the mercenaries and the elements of rebel movements. And the former United Nations Envoy spoke about this on many occasions.

Priscilla WOLMER: So do you think that Sarraj will be the better person to bring peace in Libya?

Abdul Rahman Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi: We support the legal government in Libya; we support the efforts of United Nations and conference of Skhirat. We hope peace will be established in Libya and we think the best solution is not to replace a Dictator by another Dictator. Here I mean Haftar! Libya needs reconciliation among all its political forces.

Priscilla WOLMER: Last question. What is your dream for your country?

Abdul Rahman Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi: We hope that our country Sudan be blessed with peace, stability, and security and to be the most advanced and developed country. We also wish that Sudan be among the countries that lead in the rule of law. We hope that will be achieved soon inch ‘Allah.

Priscilla Wolmer
Directrice de la rédaction