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European Union Ambassador addresses Europe Day and European Year for Development Celebrations

05-11-2015, 03:29 PM
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European Union Ambassador addresses Europe Day and European Year for Development Celebrations

    04:29 PM May, 11 2015
    Sudanese Online
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    Ambassador Tomas Ulicny, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Sudan addressed a diplomatic reception which was organized to celebrate the European Year for Development and Europe Day. Ambassador Ali Al Sadiq, Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs represented the government of Sudan at the event. The reception was attended by five hundred guests representing Sudanese senior government officials, politicians, journalists and foreign diplomats. Ambassadors of the European countries participated at the event. Chakeb Bel Hassan, Head of United Nations Office for project Services addressed the event on the occasion of European Union and United Nations signing a project Agreement to manage natural resources in East Darfur.

    The European Union Ambassador delivered the following comprehensive speech:

    Your Excellency
    Ambassador Ali Elsadig,
    Representative of the Government of Sudan,

    Mr. Chakib Hassan
    Head of United Nations Office for Projects Services

    Excellences, Distinguished Guests, Friends of the European Union, Ladies and Gentlemen,

    It is a great honour to welcome you all, with my wife Petra, to this year's celebration of Europe Day. Tonight we already celebrate our fourth Europe Day in Sudan and most likely not the last one. Your presence which I highly appreciate demonstrates the recognition for the role of the European Union and the EU Delegation in Khartoum, in strengthening the relations with Sudan and extending the bridges of friendship and understanding with Europe.

    Last year we celebrated Europe Day under the slogan "Change and its significance in the history of nations". Indeed change is coming as natural expression of evolution as we have been witnessing continuous changes in Europe over the past year. In the European Union we have since last year a new European Commission President, a new European Council President, a new High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, new Commissioners, and our citizens elected new Members of the European Parliament. The established policies and strategies are currently under review to better address new emerging challenges in order to ensure continued economic prosperity, to preserve social cohesion and enhanced security for our citizens.

    Our policies are under comprehensive scrutiny to make Europe a better place for its citizens, but our long-term principles on which the Union is built remain unchanged. The EU will jointly stand for democracy, dialogue and peaceful solutions of the conflicts, regional integration, human rights, managed migration, reconciliation, solidarity, and accountability, protection of minorities, religious tolerance and respect for diversity.

    In Sudan, the European Union is committed to support:

    A stable prosperous Sudan within the wider region of Horn of Africa being freed from conflicts where there is peace in the country and with its neighbours. A prosperous Sudan, where all children attend schools and everyone has access to health services and decent employment.

    A democratic Sudan where there is a genuine peaceful dialogue, recognition of diversity, internally transformed democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, at the EU we celebrate 2015 as the Year for Development in Sudan and around the world. There is no doubt that our international development and humanitarian aid make lives better for millions of people improving their living standards in terms of education, health, food security and other areas essential for sustainable progress of the societies.

    In Sudan, the European Union Delegation currently manages 138 ongoing projects worth 144 million EUR. The focus of our attention is in East Sudan, Darfur and other conflict-affected areas. This makes the European Union collectively a key humanitarian aid and development donor in Sudan.

    We are supporting humanitarian aid projects in providing basic supplies to conflict-affected people to prevent a humanitarian disaster. We have witnessed positive dynamics with the extension of the humanitarian corridor to South Sudan, providing urgent food supplies to thousands of civilians. However, difficult challenges remain. According to the UN, since January 2015 at least 121.000 people in Darfur have been displaced from their homes by conflict. Continued insecurity and access restrictions represent impediments for international humanitarian partners to reach out to and better assist the affected people.

    We are supporting food security and rural development projects to combat poverty and provide better perspective for our beneficiaries.

    We are supporting livestock projects to help Sudanese economy and in particular the marginalised communities to grow and export.

    We are implementing projects for natural and water resources management, to help the country better protect its environment, as well as share resources among communities and save their limited resources for generations to come. The evidence is tonight's signing of our new project implemented by UNEP/UNOPS aimed at improvement of livelihood of thousands people in East Darfur.

    As an evidence of our long-standing continuous cooperation with the government we have signed earlier today with the Ministers of Finance and Trade a common project funded by 1, 4 million Euros with aim to contribute to the expansion of Sudanese exports into the regional and international markets.

    We are promoting human rights projects. We support the Sudanese authorities and civil society in Sudan to promote an open and democratic society, and eradicate poverty. We are strongly present, with our implementing partners, in the areas of education and health. We advocate and support women and child rights, and disabled citizens to increase awareness and encourage implementation of enabling legislation.

    In all our projects we are keen to transfer technology, share know-how and build local capacity. And we are keen to promote our experience and values, on which we have established one of the most successful projects of integration in the history of mankind.
    Ladies and Gentlemen, the question we could ask ourselves on this day is what we can do together better to further increase development cooperation between Sudan and the European Union? What we can do to make it more robust thus increasing its impact for the people who need it most.

    There is no simple answer to it, therefore allow me to share with you a couple of our own thoughts for your kind consideration:

    One:

    Our common goal is to strengthen Sudan relations with the European countries and the European Union and this should be conducted in a more comprehensive way. The principles of European common foreign and security policy are respected and subsequently implemented by the EU based on the consensus of its member states. We are diverse in unity but united in common actions and will remain so. For this reason I highly value positive spirit of cooperation within the entire EU family in Khartoum, and congratulate the outstanding work of my dear colleagues Ambassadors of the member states.

    Two:

    The European Union will continue supporting Sudanese people and particularly those who are living in conflict areas. Sustainable peace is essential to enable us to bridge humanitarian and development assistance, change nature of our projects from emergency response to long-term development projects. Security and stability is key prerequisite to success of our development intervention. Without peace, without meaningful access of all humanitarian and development actors, the European Union assistance will remain limited to short term life-saving projects and cannot unfold its real potential which we are otherwise determined to offer for better lives of Sudanese people.

    Third:

    The European Union interests in Sudan are inevitably interconnected with our regional interests to improve stability and security in the wider region surrounding Sudan. In the wake of alarming developments in Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, South Sudan and Central African Republic we are interested in strengthening of productive cooperation and coordination with the regional actors including Sudan and its Government to sustain peaceful and comprehensive locally-driven solutions that will achieve resolution, progress and stability. A genuine dialogue on these issues would undoubtedly contribute to deepening of confidence and relations between Sudan and the EU and its member states.

    Fourth:

    The European Union put high stakes on the success of Sudanese national dialogue. Our position has been made clear to all stakeholders since the beginning, and in particular since January 2014, when dialogue about peace, governance, economy and identity was announced. The EU supports a comprehensive, transparent and inclusive political process in Sudan, held in conducive environment and accompanied by confidence building measures. We remain committed to this position. In spite of current setbacks, the project of the national dialogue remains important to us because if succeeded it will result in a peaceful and stable Sudan setting the right example in the years to come. The process might be interrupted, delayed, it can go temporarily off the track but it has to remain in place and nobody should feel excluded.

    Fifth:

    Frank dialogue with the European Union and its member states is essential to address problems, find and implement positive solutions both in Sudan and in the region. Fair and genuine dialogue can breathe a new air in our relations. It needs commitment by all and will only succeed if we all believe in the importance of good relations between Sudan and the European Union. Some observers claim that the European Union is a bureaucratic monster, slow in action. It is true the EU takes time to consult, but once a decision is taken, we implement it thoroughly and comprehensively in all areas.

    Sixth:

    We are ready to closely engage with our Sudanese partners that can help us prevent extremism and fight terrorism. Radicalisation and terrorism are common threats to Sudan and Europe. Terrorism damages relations, it resists progress, it kills hope and it only increases chaos and violence. We should join our efforts to make world a better place to live.

    Ladies and gentlemen, to conclude,

    We believe in importance of friendly relations with Sudan for the benefit of all. We remain committed to support Sudan in its endeavour to find durable solution to its persevering challenges notably peace, political settlement through national dialogue, democratic transformation and prosperity for its people.

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