Sudan : what game is the European Parliament playing?
This week, a parliamentary delegation from the Republic of Sudan will be received at the European Parliament to "exchange with European parliamentarians on issues of conflict resolution, human rights and democracy - and in particular on the presidential and legislative elections".
The least one can say is that the choice of the date of the visit is hardly appropriate.
Indeed, elections are being held in Sudan right now, in a context which is not unanimously approved. This visit has therefore provoked the astonishment of the Sudanese opposition whose representatives have been welcomed to the European Parliament on several occasions.
This opposition, in a very large gathering around the "Sudan Call", has decided to boycott those elections, believing that its participation would only legitimize a process whose credibility is largely rejected by the international community because of the inexistent opening of an inclusive national dialogue to put in place a credible political system through constitutional reforms – an indispensable prerequisite after 25 years of dictatorship marked by conflicts of unprecedented violence.
This national dialogue has been repeatedly promised by Omar El Bashir, who in fact has continued to refuse to implement it under various pretexts, rejecting proposals including those of the African Union.
The High Representative Federica Mogherini has recently declared that, under current conditions, the elections "cannot produce a credible result with legitimacy" and that therefore the EU "chose not to engage in support of these elections "- like other governments of the international community and especially the Troika (Norway, Great Britain and the United States of America) which follows the peace process and democratic transition in Sudan in connection with the High Representative of the African Union, Mr. Thabo Mbeki.
There is no doubt that Mr. Omar El Bashir will exploit this visit of Sudanese parliamentarians in Brussels to claim a recognition, be it partial, of the European institutions.
Alerted by me, the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, has not, for the time being, reacted.
If this visit takes place as such, the European Parliament as a democratic institution will commit an unforgivable political mistake and would play into the hands of a dictator in need of international recognition.
As for me, I will boycott this visit and invite all my colleagues to do the same.
[Hereunder the letter sent to President Schulz]
European United Left-Nordic Green Left
To Martin Schulz
European Parliament President
Brussels, April 9th 2015
I am writing to you to express my concern about the visit of parliamentarians from the Republic of Sudan to the European Parliament from April 13th to April 17th.
Indeed, it seems that the EU delegation in Khartoum took the initiative to invite twelve parliamentarians to come and discuss, during this week, with European parliamentarians on conflict resolution, issues of human rights, democracy - and in particular on the Sudanese presidential and parliamentary elections.
What does surprise me, as well as some of the Sudanese opposition members, is the time frame chosen. Indeed, elections in Sudan that will be discussed about will take place from April 13 to 15 – at the same time as this visit.
Our concern is that the President Omar al-Bashir, could use these exchanges as a pretext to claim his legitimacy from the European Union and the international community.
There is no need to remember the conditions in which Omar al-Bashir came to power in 1989 and is keeping it since then.
For several months, the Sudanese opposition has formed a large front and we had the honor to welcome their representatives at the European Parliament for several events.
Assuming that their participation would legitimizes the elections; these opposition groups - gathered in a wide movement from the parliamentary opposition to armed resistance including Darfur and civil society organizations - have initiated a boycott campaign.
They believe that no election can be held as long as some basic conditions are not met, including the adoption of deep constitutional reforms and the conclusion of peace agreements with several regions of the country.
The international community seems unanimous in refusing to support this election which could be names as an “electoral masquerade”.
You will therefore understand that regardless to the attachment that is ours to the peace process in the region, I feel embarrassed when I hear that an official visit of Sudanese parliament will be held at the European Parliament, in this period more than delicate.
I wanted to alert you and ask you to consider postponing the visit.
We look forward to your response, please accept, Mr. President, the assurances of my highest consideration.
GUE/NGL press officer + 32 475 646628