Press Releases EP Plenary: Situation in Sudan

EP Plenary: Situation in Sudan

Speech delivered by Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, on behalf of High-Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell

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President, Honourable Members [of the European Parliament],

Today’s debate, which I deliver on behalf of the High-Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell, is a timely opportunity to discuss the unfolding conflict in Sudan, which is shaking the grounds in the country and also in the region. It is an already dire situation becoming a humanitarian catastrophe.

The European Union strongly condemns the ongoing fighting between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) since the 15 April in Khartoum and the rest of the country.

We strongly deplore the loss of lives and the violations of international law, including international human rights [law] and international humanitarian law.

So far, more than 500 people have been killed and 6000 injured since the conflict began. These are figures in Khartoum alone; the situation in the peripheries, notably in Darfur, is even more dramatic and heavily under-reported.

In regard to the evacuations, the majority of the estimated 1700 EU citizens who were in Sudan when the conflict erupted have now been evacuated.

Strong European Union solidarity was at play, with EU Member States organising evacuation flights taking on board other EU nationalities as well as citizens from other continents.

The European Union continues to facilitate coordinated consular efforts to bring those EU citizens still in the country and willing to leave safely, in cooperation with our international partners.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank EU Member states and their militaries for the coordinated efforts and carrying out successfully complex evacuations in Sudan.

We will continue pushing for a political settlement through coordinated efforts from all the international community.

From day one of the conflict, the European Union has mobilized its entire diplomatic apparatus.

The European Union’s short-term objective is to contribute to establishing a sustainable ceasefire so as to enable civilians to find safety and allow humanitarian actors to deliver lifesaving assistance.

We are working together with our partners to establish a broad-based coalition in this regard, and following a consolidated approach.

I would like to commend the efforts to increase flexible humanitarian funding for partners who are maintaining or resuming their operations in Sudan. As soon as the security environment allows, we shall stand ready to step in immediately through a coordinated Team Europe approach.

Moving forward will be resource demanding – significant investment will be needed in logistics, in civil-military coordination and in security analysis and information sharing, including within the United Nations, but also between the United Nations, NGOs and diplomatic community.

Beyond the attacks on civilians and on our staff, the situation is extremely worrying and requires our utmost attention. The risks of an all-out war in this country are growing exponentially.

The European Union welcomes and supports collective regional and international coordinated mediation efforts, including those of the United Nations, African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the League of Arab States, South Sudan, the US and Saudi Arabia. They are essential to bring Sudan back to the path of peace and stability and to respect the aspirations of the people in Sudan for a peaceful, stable and democratic future. Close coordination to merge and consolidate mediation efforts is of key importance.

The European Union reaffirms its steadfast support and solidarity with the people of Sudan, especially women and youth, who led a peaceful revolution three years ago. Their aspirations and requests for a better future will not be forgotten.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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Closing remarks 

Dear President, thank you.

Honourable Members, the debate today testifies on your continued interest and engagement on Sudan.

An implosion of the third largest country in Africa, with a key strategic location in the Sahel and the Red Sea is something no one can afford.

Let me stress once again that the European Union will continue its diplomatic outreach and our messages are very clear.

Immediate cessation of hostilities and secured humanitarian access.

De-escalation of the current situation.

Urging for the respect of International Humanitarian Law and the protection of civilians and diplomatic premises.

Putting the political process back on track. All efforts, properly coordinated, are welcome to seek ways to support dialogue and mediation in order for a return to a civilian-led transition.

External actors should refrain from fueling the conflict.

We shall continue insisting on the importance of obtaining security guarantees from the warring parties to be able to deliver the much-needed assistance, the importance to remove the bureaucratic and administrative impediments by the de facto authorities so that the aid workers can return to the country without significant delays, the importance of defining the humanitarian needs and redefining the future humanitarian architecture set-up in the country.

The coming days and weeks are essential, and we urge the European Parliament to continue its engagement with Sudan and the region.

Thank you.

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