Supporting National Dialogue in Sudan

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The initiative “Supporting National Dialogue and Reconciliation in Sudan” aims for a peaceful political transformation process in Sudan through engaging with different Sudanese political and civil society actors to develop an inclusive framework for dialogue. Although key stakeholders increasingly recognize the need for such an approach, important gaps remain preventing its launch.

The "Berlin Declaration"  is a notable outcome achieved by the project to date. It sought to unite the opposition in favour of the next steps in the National Dialogue process led by the African Union High Implementation Panel on Sudan (AUHIP). Prior to this some opposition factions rejected the National Dialogue and were seen to be calling exclusively for regime change. The”Berlin Declaration” was a success in that it reached an agreement by all participants to participate in the AUHIP Preparatory Conference for the National Dialogue; a first for the opposition.

Timeframe

2014 - 2015

Conflict Setting

Long running war and the concomitant dire humanitarian situation in Sudan in addition to instability in the greater Region, give impetus to addressing the challenges Sudan faces.

In January 2014, Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir announced a national dialogue to which he invited opposition parties and civil society. However, though many Sudanese political actors recognize the need for a political solution, it has been difficult to arrive at an arrangement by which all forces participate in the national dialogue. Concurrent to inchoate national dialogue/reconciliation there exist two "regional" Sudanese negotiations; one on the "Two Areas" (referring to the crises in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopa, the other negotiating Darfur located in Doha, Qatar.

Objectives

The overall aim of the project is to build common ground allowing for the inception of an inclusive national dialogue and reconciliation process in Sudan. Two objectives were identified to support this overall aim of the initiative:

  • Facilitate key Sudanese stakeholders meeting to address gaps in forming a National Dialogue
  • Explore creative solutions to overcoming obstacles to a national dialogue and reconciliation process. 

Approach

Given the complex dynamic between political forces, moving the national dialogue process forward requires progress on different levels: 1) within opposition and government blocs;
2) between the opposition and government. At both levels the Berghof Foundation provides supportive facilitation.

Key Actors

  • Government of Sudan
  • Political opposition
  • Armed opposition
  • Civil society

Partners

The project is carried out in close collaboration with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP).

Funders

The project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.

February 2015 - Berlin Declaration

In February 2015 the project succeeded in bringing together almost 50 representatives of the armed and unarmed opposition, calling themselves the Sudan Call forces, in Berlin. In order to allow for a broader representation of the Sudan opposition, civil society actors were also invited to the Berlin meeting. For the first time oppositional stakeholders from Sudan and those living abroad (in Ethiopia, Kenia, Egypt, Uganda, and Europe) came together to deliberate on their position towards the national dialogue. The Berlin Meeting was an unprecedented success as all participating opposition forces agreed to join the African Union High Implementation Panel on Sudan (AUHIP) national dialogue preparatory meeting. The participants affirmed their commitment by signing the "Berlin Declaration". German Foreign Minister Walter Steinmeier welcomed the Berlin Declaration in a public statement. He emphasized that the declaration is an important step to bring the conflicts in Sudan to an end.

November 2014 - Round Table discussion with opposition and government representatives in Khartoum

Under the title "Revitalizing Dialogue in Sudan", Berghof delegation joined representatives from the government, different opposition parties, the 7+7 committee of the national dialogue and a national figure at the German embassy residence in Khartoum on 27 November 2014. The purpose was to identify the issues of commitment to the national dialogue and the pragmatic steps required to move forward.

October 2014 - Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) meeting in Berlin

Under the title "Issues on the way to national dialogue" 16 high-ranked members of the SRF attended a meeting in Berlin, which was jointly facilitated by the Berghof Foundation and SWP. The purpose of that meeting was to assess the current state of the national dialogue/constitutional process and explore means of external support to this process. A series of concrete next steps were agreed at the end of the seminar.

August 2014 - Round table discussion with Professor Ibrahim Ghandour

During Professor Ibrahim Ghandour's visit to Berlin, at that time Sudan's Presidential assistant, a round table discussion entitled "National Reconciliation and Peace Making Process in Sudan: Challenges and Opportunities" was organized by Berghof Foundation. It joined Professor Ghandour with experts, policy makers and government officials. He presented his view on the current political developments in Sudan and the status of peacemaking efforts and national reconciliation. The presentation was followed by an open discussion.