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Consensus emerging on many issues, UN’s Sudan envoy tells Security Council

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Three women in Khartoum hold pictures of their loved ones who died in protests, in Sudan.

The United Nations envoy for Sudan told the Security Council today that consensus has emerged on many issues towards establishing a functional government, warning that Khartoum could lose out on billions of external aid without such an administration.

“Unless the current trajectory is corrected, Sudan will head towards economic and security collapse as well as significant humanitarian suffering,” Volker Perthes, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan, warned.

Political vacuum

The African country has had no functioning government in place since the military coup d’état of 25 October 2021.

Perthes, also the head of the UN’s transitional Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), said the UN-led broad consultations on a political process – involving more than 800 participants from all parts of the country – have found “visible” consensus on many issues, including on the need to end the violence, establish a technocratic Government and an oversight body, and adopt critical legislation.

There was also wide-reaching agreement on the need to reconsider the role, size and membership of the Sovereignty Council, which was to have functioned as the collective head of state for a 39-month transitional period, scheduled to end in November 2022.

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Points of agreement

The consultations also found common ground on a minimum of 40 per cent representation of women in transitional institutions, and on mechanisms to advance women’s rights.

Moreover, an overarching consensus emerged around the need for a single unified professional army, for the establishment of judicial entities, for the conditions for credible elections and for an inclusive constitutional process.

Going forward, he told the Security Council, the UN, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will jointly lead efforts to support Sudan’s political process, drawing on their respective strengths.  The intention is to facilitate an inclusive, Sudan-owned and Sudan-led political process.

New phase of talks

An intensive phase of talks is expected to start in the next couple of weeks with a view to a return to constitutional order and an empowered civilian-led government to steer Sudan through the transitional period.

“Time is not on Sudan’s side”, he warned, adding that Sudan could miss out on billions of external support, as disbursements from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other major donors have been paused, and will continue that way as long as no functional government is in place.

Consensus emerging on many issues, UN’s Sudan envoy tells Security Council

A wide view of the Security Council meeting on the situations in the Sudan and South Sudan, in New York.

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