The deal has been sealed. Zambia and Russia signed the Engineering, Procurement and Construction Contract. The signing of the contract will see the establishment of the Centre for Nuclear Sciences and Technology (CNST) that will see Zambia’s economy improve because of the benefits that will come with the establishment of the centre.
The agreement that was signed will turn Zambia into a hub of nuclear sciences. The centre is to be used for peaceful purposes such has boosting the energy, health and agriculture sectors.
Nuclear is important for meeting the world’s growing need for reliable, affordable and clean energy.
Global electricity demand is expected to double by 2050 as people everywhere demand a better quality of life. All low-carbon sources, including nuclear energy, are important for meeting this demand. Nuclear energy is expected to provide at least 25 percent of global electricity by 2050 to successfully meet the needs of human development and protecting the environment.
Zambia has seen the need to embrace nuclear energy by ensuring the country does not lag behind in being a highly industrialised nation.
On October 12, 2017 the Trump administration announced the partial lifting of sanctions against the nation of Sudan to allow the government and people of Sudan to participate in the international banking system to promote trade and economic growth. Over the last twenty years since these financial, trade, and banking sanctions were imposed, Sudan has economically suffered. President’s Trump’s executive order easing restrictions on Sudan created a new mood of optimism, with the State Department indicating that this would be the beginning of new relations with Sudan. The State Department publicly mooted that this could be the first step to removing Sudan from the list of states sponsoring terrorism in the future. However, after almost four months, the U.S. government has not facilitated the transfer of money for Sudan, which is contributing to the nation’s economic strife today.
Sudan Opens a Second Front
The failure by the U.S. to implement fully the easing sanction is the result of a conflict between President Trump’s agenda and dissident factions in the State Department, supported by many in the Congress, who are incapable of relinquishing their fanatical desire to have Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir removed from office. These contradictions became obvious when Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan visited Khartoum on November 16, 2017, and conspicuously avoided meeting with President Bashir, using the excuse that the president of Sudan has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Even though the U.S. is not a member of the ICC, it is well known that previous administrations supported efforts to have President Bashir removed from office. The zealots of this international alliance for regime change, who have been behind this nefarious campaign for decades, reject even tentative overtures by President Trump to chart a new course for U.S.-Sudan relations. There are unconfirmed reports that the U.S. State Department, not the executive branch, is demanding the removal of President Bashir as a precondition for further progress in U.S.-Sudan relations including removing Sudan from the list of states sponsoring terrorism.
One week following the diplomatic snub by Sullivan, the most senior State Department official to visit Khartoum, President Bashir shocked everyone in Washington, and many in Khartoum, when he visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on November 23. This surprise move was not expected by Washington. Reflecting the sentiments of most Sudanese, especially in the ruling National Congress Party, that the U.S. once again was not acting in good faith, President Bashir made his very first visit to Russia. Fearing that the goalposts have been moved again, as they have been repeatedly, and that the regime-change faction is still desirous of his removal, President Bashir asked Russia for protection from aggressive acts by the U.S. Sudan’s Rapprochement With Russia
The two presidents discussed increased economic and military cooperation, including the possibility of Russia securing a military base on the Red Sea that forms the eastern border of Sudan. According to knowledgeable sources, President Bashir will continue to look forward to improved cooperation with the U.S. and the West, but simultaneously pursue a closer alliance with Russia. President Bashir believes Russia’s veto on the United Nations Security Council, along with its military capability as demonstrated in Syria, will provide a bulwark against any future reckless policy against Sudan by the West.
U.S. Needs Sudan
For Sudan, there is no turning back from their “dual-front” policy with the world’s two superpowers, but it didn’t have to come to this. The failure to fully implement the easing of trade/financial sanctions after years of refusal by the U.S. to talk face-to-face with President Bashir, accompanied by the severe economic hardships suffered by the Sudanese people from U.S.-led sanctions, contributed to President Bashir’s first overture to Russia.
Sudan is strategically situated in East Africa in the Nile River system that connects sub-Saharan Africa to North Arica. Moreover, Sudan has for years been a valuable ally in the war against ISIS, providing useful intelligence to U.S. security forces. Also, it must be unequivocally stated, that there will be no solution to the crisis in South Sudan that the U.S. and Britain have contributed to, without the direct participation of the President of Sudan. Susan Rice, in charge of African policy in the second term of Bill Clinton’s Presidency is personally culpable for the horrific conditions in South Sudan today. She and other so-called liberals hated Sudan’s leadership, and were fierce advocates for the creation of South Sudan. Their intention was to use South Sudan as part of their arsenal for regime change, without the slightest concern for the welfare of the people of South Sudan.
Sudan is a nation rich in mineral resources, and has large tracts of arable land, not yet under cultivation. It has been known for decades, long before the creation of South Sudan in 2011, that Sudan had the potential to feed a billion people, about the size of sub-Saharan Africa’s population today. It should be recognized (if not admitted) that successive U.S. administrations have strategically failed in their policy towards Sudan, lacking a vision of how to participate with African nations to develop their huge wealth in land and in its people.
Africa needs huge investments in infrastructure to realize its potential in agriculture, industry, and manufacturing. Instead of the West fixating on extractive industries, i.e., gas, oil, and minerals, which have a minimal role in job creation, their focus should have been on railroads and energy. When the South-North and East-West railroads are finally built, their nexus will be in central Sudan. Trains carrying freight and people will be able to travel from Port Sudan on the Red Sea into West and Southern Africa, thus ensuring that Sudan will become a mega manufacturing-agricultural-transportation hub for the continent.
The Way Forward
There is a relatively easy path for President Trump to follow, to engage Sudan fruitfully. Port Sudan is already included on China’s Maritime Silk Road. China’s involvement in building infrastructure throughout the African continent is unparalleled. Were President Trump to join with China’s New Silk Road for Africa in vital infrastructure to Sudan, the U.S. would form new partnerships with Sudan and other African nations.
President Bashir demonstrated his ability to negotiate and compromise when he signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 with President George W. Bush to allow an independence referendum in South Sudan. This resulted in the peaceful separation of Sudan seven years ago, with Khartoum voluntarily giving up 75% of its oil production. With this historical perspective in mind, President Trump can put U.S.-Sudan relations on a positive course by arranging for direct, if informal, talks with President Bashir, and carrying through on the easing of sanctions pertaining to trade, finance, and banking. These actions will be well received in Khartoum and reciprocated.
Lawrence Freeman has been visiting and writing about Sudan for over 20 years, discussing economic development and US-Sudan relations with members of parliament, the NCP, and leaders of opposition parties.
Joseph Hammond recently spoke with Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour in Khartoum. In July, Trump decided to continue the probationary period on Sudanese sanctions another three months until September.
Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour
Question: What are Sudan’s foreign policy priorities at present?
A: Our priorities are first of all good relations with neighbors we always try to strike “zero problems with neighbors” and we are surrounded by six neighbors and each of those countries have either internal conflict or international problems at the moment. Taking a wider few to the East we have we Al-Shabab and Boko Haram to the West. We also have the problem of ISIS in our region. Solving these security challenges involves close coordination with our neighbors and that is our priority.
Sudan is both part of Africa and the Arab region so that is a priority before we look wider afield for allies in solving those issues. In nutshell our goal is to have our country at the heart of peaceful and integrated region.
Q: In 1995, the United States imposed sanctions on Sudan due to its support for terrorists like Bin Ladin and Carlos the Jackal. The former is now dead and the latter is now in prison after he was surrendered by Sudan to France. What is Sudan doing to ensure the Trump Administration lifts the sanctions?
A: In June 2016, we received and agreed up a five track plan between the United States of America and the Sudan.
The five tracks include counter-terrorism, an investigation into claims that we have a link to the Lord’s Resistance Army(LRA), Peace with South Sudan, Peace within Sudan and as well as humanitarian issues.
We engaged on this for 6 months with the Obama administration to relieve the sanctions and that happened in January this year. We have had several meetings on this process at the hieghest levels including with Dr. [Susan] Rice and we engaged with [Secretary of State] John Kerry. We had a lot of engagement and we are waiting for the final decision in July.
In the last week of April, we had more meetings with the U.S. government and both sides agree there has been 100% implementation from of the five track plan. Sudan has been contributing to U.S. counter-terrorism efforts since before the turn of the century and the Pentagon confirmed that there is no links between our government and Joseph Kony’s LRA.
On the basis of the last bilateral engagements things are moving forward.
Q: The fate of the sanctions aside Sudan is still-listed as a state sponsor of terrorism.
A: There will not be economic issues after July if things go smoothly. However, if the state-sponsorship designation continues it’s a diplomat paradox. Last year on 15th of June the outgoing CIA director [John Brennan] said Sudan is cooperating very well with U.S. counter-terrorism efforts. How can a country be cooperating on U.S. counter terrorism efforts yet remain on the state sponsor of terrorism list. The administration should work with Sudan to have its named removed from the state-sponsorship of terrorism list.
Q: Well to clarify Sudan is not under embargo its under sanctions.
A: I mean practically speaking it has been embargo on us because other countries are not trading with us with us due to U.S. sanctions. So Sudan shifted to Iran and other countries to help the national army to support a rebellion. A rebellion I might added aided by the same countries who were imposing this embargo. Everybody knows the South Sudan has been supported by the West and other regional countries. Iran is not our natural ally but, it was necessity. When you are pushed against a wall you find you can do anything.
Q: Earlier this year Sudanese President Omer Al-Baashir visited Ethiopia and called for the creation of a Horn of Africa economic community. His proposal was supported by his Ethiopian hosts but, what is the status this union?
A: Yes, the Horn of Africa economic community was discussed between Baashir and the Prime Minsiter of Ethiopia [Hailemariam Desalegn] and both leaders agreed it is an important issue that should be discussed. Additionally, Somalia and Djibouti have responded positively to the proposal. A meeting of experts has been scheduled for late June and then there will be a foregin ministers meeting. If things go forward there will be a summit and a declaration. We are hoping that this issue will come to a reality there is a lot in common between the countries in the Horn of Africa. There is a lot of potential for stronger economic partnerships between these countries and Sudan. Economic collaboration means collaboration on everything. This organization can work to ensure that we are better connected by road, rail and there is free movement of people and goods.
Q: Well another important country for Sudan during this period was Russia. Which leads me to the Syrian Civil War where Sudan has taken a position very close to Russia’s hasn’t it? Sudan does not believe that Assad has to go before a peace agreement can be achieved…
A: Let me separate this issue as these are two questions are relations. With the Russia we maintain excellent Russian relations. Russia has invested in our economy in particularly in gold mining. In fact we have good relations in all other fields. Russia supports Sudan and on the Security Council when we face unjustified pressure.
On Syria our position has been from the beginning has been that this conflict has to resolved through direct negotiations and still this is our position and still is our position. Foreign military intervention will not solve
We have been clear on this with our other Arab allies. President Baashir said this again at the recent Arab League meeting in Amman, Jordan. Syria need direct negotiations between rebel groups and Assad. The Syrian Civil War will not be solved by foreign powers. It will be solved by discussions amongst the Syrian people. If what we said had been listened to earlier those hundreds of thousands of people would not have lost their lives
Q: There is a major conflict on your borders in Libya. What role is Sudan playing in Libya?
A: We are very concerned about the situation in Libya…This is a conflict with clear consequences for the world beyond our region as well. For example, the fighting Libya has made it difficult to combat illegal migration from our region through Libya or Algeria and onto Europe. One of concerns is of course the conflict in Libya will impact the on-going peace process in Darfur. In Darfur other than one or two holdouts there is now peace throughout the region. However, we are concerned that there are 600 rebels from the Minnawi faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement who are fighting in Libya with General Haftar’s forces. Those rebels could return any time with supported from Libya and re-ignite the war in Darfur.
Thus we have deployed 2,000 troops along are border with Libya. We are also concerned about ISIS, they have been kicked out of Sirte but, they are now regrouping who knows where. We are also concerned about the fact that Southern Libya has become a no-man’s land. The civil war in Libya must be solved by negotiation with the various factions.