Saturday, April 25, 2020

UN Chief Calls on World Bank to Support Sudan to Face COVID-19 Pandemic
April 24, 2020 (NEW YORK) - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Friday called on the international financial institutions to grant Sudan exceptional support to confront the COVID-19 pandemic after the World Bank’s exclusion of the East African nation from global emergency funds for coronavirus response operations.

The World Bank earlier in April said it approved $1.9 billion in emergency funds for coronavirus response in 25 developing countries including India. Further, The bank announced that preparations are going on to spend up to $160 billion over the next 15 months to combat the pandemic.

However, due to the U.S. veto preventing the international financial institutions from dealing with Sudan even for humanitarian considerations, the World Bank excluded Sudan from this crucial global fund to support the fight of the pandemic.

Taking the opportunity of a UN Security Council videoconference meeting on the future of Darfur peacekeeping mission (UNAMID), Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary A. DiCarlo spoke in his speech about the political and economic challenges that Sudan has been facing alone without any significant economic support to its people.

DiCarlo pointed to the protests and political agitations by the supporters of the former regime, the worrisome humanitarian situation with 9.3 people who need assistance as a result of deepening economic crisis and the increasing rate of inflation in the country.

"With the risk of a wider spread of COVID-19 in Sudan, the economic challenges could worsen," he said.

"The Secretary-General has encouraged the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to show flexibility in granting Sudan exceptional access to financial instruments established to assist developing countries respond to the challenges of COVID-19," he further stressed.

In a letter to the UN chief on 8 April, Sudan Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok alluded to the US sanctions against Sudan preventing Sudan’s access to lifesaving external finance from the international financial groups.

"While unilateral assistance is dwindling (...), it weighs heavily on the hearts and minds of us all that Sudan is not among the beneficiaries of the recently announced US$160 billion of support by the World Bank Group for eligible countries to contain the spread and impact of COVID-19".

Hamdok further warned that without urgent international financial support, "the recent political and social progress, inspired by the historical December 2018 Revolution in the country, could all be aborted and go in vain".

He once again recalled that the " unthinkable negative spillovers" of this crisis would not be limited on the Sudanese people but would, unfortunately, affect the whole region and the international stability.

The US Acting Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Cherith Norman Chalet, limited its intervention to the security situation in Darfur and called to speed up the drawdown of the UNAMID with "assurances that returned Team Sites will be protected from looting".

"We all have an opportunity to help move Sudan forward, towards stability. The United States is ready to seize this opportunity, and we look forward to working with the Council to design a follow-on mission to UNAMID that addresses Sudan’s security and political needs," further said Chalet.


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