Sudan: Weekly Press Columns Digest

analysis

Khartoum — The recent revelations of Egypt's President Abdelfattah Alsisi in which he uttered a veiled threat to Ethiopia over the Renaissance Dam issue, the spectacular triumph of Sudan's soccer national team over its South African counterpart that propelled the Sudanese side to the African Cup of Nation's finals in Cameroon in early 2022 after ten years of absence from the big African event and Sudan's comeback to transactions with the World Bank, were the most important issues that received due consideration from the Khartoum editorials and commentaries.

In an article in the Altaghyeer (Change) electronic publication, Mr. Khalid Fadl has commented on the recent revelations of President Sisi of Egypt in which he sent veiled warnings to Ethiopia not to unilaterally move with its plans concerning the Renaissance Dam which Addis Ababa is building across the River Blue Nile, close to the Sudanese southern border.

Wrote Mr. Fadl:

The Sudanese position as regards the filling of the Dam lake was based on purely technical matters. This position of Sudan was often described as fluid.

Now the Egyptian President goes directly to the gist of the matter: 'Even minus a single drop of water is a red line.'

The message looks of two folds: Ethiopia is now the focus of this warning. But who can guarantee if the same extends to (sister) Sudan if it sought one day to utilize its full share of the Nile waters, as stipulated in the 1959 water agreement between Sudan and Egypt, added to an annual extra 6 billion cubic meters of water that flow to Egypt as a loan because Sudan does not utilize it at the moment.

Ethiopia always complains that it was not party to this (colonial as it describes it) 1959 water agreement between Sudan and Egypt. Ethiopia also says it was deprived (for an entire century) from development and from the utilization of the vast water resources of the Blue Nile, because of Egypt and Sudan.

This is, sure, a refutable letter of grievance. The two countries (Sudan and Egypt) did not prevent Ethiopia from exploiting its water resources. But, for honesty's sake, the two

countries were just calling for the two of them not to be harmed by Ethiopia's utilizing its rights in the river water.

For me this is an objective offer, reasonable thinking, if done without intimidation or threats. That is because escalation would invite counter escalation, as war always begins with words. We should also take into consideration that this dispute could turn into discord among the other Nile states, all of whom are African countries, while Sudan and Egypt are described as Arab. And this is a grave racial turn no sane person would accept to take place.

What the Sudanese always want is for their high interests to be prioritized, of course without denying the others' rights.

This is the balancing element in international and regional relations.

For this, it is my wish that the Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, as an authority on this science, to very clearly pinpoint Sudan's specific reservations on the matter and also tell us what is Ethiopia's reply to those reservations.

What is said by (supposed) strategic experts in Sudan (on satellite TV channels) needs verification like when they say the 2020 river floods were because of the Renaissance Dam. Is this true?

And also in case an Egyptian military strike takes place and the Dam collapses, what are the consequence of this step on Sudan.

And what is Ethiopia's reply to Sudan's request for the gradual filling of the Renaissance Dam. And what is the time duration asked for by Sudan for this filling.

And what is Ethiopia's answer to Sudan's request for the sharing of daily data between the Ethiopian Dam and the Sudanese Rosairis Dam? Isn't this Sudan's basic problem and its legitimate worry about the safety of its water facilities and, consequently, the life of its citizens? Or does the matter go beyond that and that there are other unrevealed problems?!

About the striking qualifying of Sudan's National Football Team to the finals of the African Cup of Nations tournament after defeating its South Africa counterpart 2/0 in Khartoum last Sunday, wrote Mr. Haydar Almikashfi in the daily Aljareeeda newspaper:

"If the boys called The Bafana Bafana had spent a dark night after they were defeated by our boys called The Secretary Birds, a defeat that made them sadly rehearse what their countryman Alan Baton had written in his disheartening novel "Cry the Beloved Country", our boys, having deservedly snatched the pass card to the Cameroon African finals, have provided us with a new novel entitled "Rejoice My Beloved Country!"

They have the right to celebrate this victory, having put their foot in the finals of the Grand championship after ten years of absence.

During the Sunday epic, our boys had demonstrated stamina, stubbornness and might. They tried and made it, winning all respect and admiration. Despite their small age average, our boys were big in showing and status. They were the richest in talent, the highest in heels, though poor in financial capabilities. As home-raised players, they were able to elbow out a squad studded with professionals from Europe.

Don't you ever doubt that the future is for them, these young players who are full of youthfulness, ambition and zeal.

Years will give them more experience while the years will do quite the opposite on the others as they grow older.

Dear boys, God willing, you will become the highest in football in the coming occasions, by building upon this experiment, never going backwards or retreating.

Congratulations to you from every individual Sudanese and from all sports and football lovers.

It is imperative for me to direct a parallel address to those who consider football a satanic sin and who are keen to warn the people not to come closer to it.

This address also goes to those who consider football mere child play. For sports in general, football in particular, has become a mirror (like any other mirror) in which any society can see its real image. That is simply because it (football) has become an integrative set that includes a long list of resources, equipment, cadres, expertise, serious training, psychological preparation, determination, willpower, endurance, collective action and learning from your experiments and the experiments of others. Top on this set up stands good planning and effective management. What else could football do for a country that needs to go forward towards comprehensive renaissance other then this coherent set?

About the recent restoration of relations between the Sudan and the World Bank, wrote economist, journalist, university professor, Abdellatif Albooni:

As young students at the university we used to emulate our predecessors and chant: "The World Bank Will Not Rule Us".

That was when the slogans of the international and local leftist movement were the food of the youth revolution.

At the University of Khartoum we also used to read deep writings from our teachers, like Professor Mohammad Hashim Awad and Professor Ali Abdelgadir, who used to flay the World Bank and the IMF with criticism, using scientific, logical arguments.

Those professors had reached the points of going into verbal engagements with officials of the two organizations.

They did not contend with warning against the implementation of the IMF economic prescription. But presented local alternatives for development, using scientific language and giving evidences.

But (the International group) was powerful and more capable of reining in the then President Nimeiri and his predecessors.

I am recalling those days as we in Sudan are now, specifically since last Friday, rejoicing and congratulating each other that the World Bank is pleased with us after a long boycott, even punishment.

Mama America, God greets it, has offered us a bridge loan with which the World Bank agreed to give us a grant. We then handed the (bridge) to the World Bank on Friday. The Bank then gave us the grant. Then we returned to America its (bridge) on Saturday. Then there remained a grant worth $225 million from the World Bank which will be given to us and, in addition, the Bank will give us a grant of two billion US dollars in the next two years to be spent on development projects with agreement between the two sides (Sudan and the World Bank.)

But what is most important is that the door has been opened for the cancellation of our outstanding debts and for obtaining big grants and loans.

As I see it, the Government has scored a valuable golden goal by what had happened

on Friday and Saturday, despite the difficult match it had to play with our people.

All of us remember the $335 million we had to pay to the US in compensation for a crime we did not commit (a US court of law had previously ruled that Sudan should pay compensations for victims of terrorist attacks it said Sudan was involved into on the US embassies in Nairobi and Darussalam, East Africa.).

Then there came the lifting of subsidies on fuel, wheat and medicines. Then these measures were coupled with the floating of the national currency, the pound. All of this was surgery without anesthesia.

By and large, we should say that it is the results that matter. For the World of today is totally governed by Mama America. And we in Sudan have learned quite well what it means if America considers you its enemy. America has showed us "who has put out the light", as the Sudanese adage goes.

Accordingly, and as long as we had accepted this fate of ours, we have to open our eyes wide, look for our points of strength and our resources and wisely integrate them with the newcomer, so that we can reap the fruits of the imposed new subordination.

Some other countries have undergone similar situations, drank from the same cup, but so wisely managed to cross the lines and win the match, because they did not follow the world masters blindfold.

Government of Sudan: Proceed cautiously and take with you all your people (I repeat all your people). That is because the people is the only shield that guards against the Mama's heavy stick.

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