Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir started yesterday a visit to Qatar in the framework of the distinguished relations between the two countries and the interest of the leadership in the two countries to further develop
relations in all fields.
The visit comes days after the lifting of the US economic sanctions on Sudan, where Qatar was one of the first countries to welcome the decision of the United States to lift economic sanctions on Khartoum, whereas the Qatari Foreign Ministry expressed hope that this resolution will promote development, peace, and stability in Sudan.
The Qatari-Sudanese relations have undergone several stages over the past 45 years. Diplomatic representation in both countries has played a pivotal role in advancing brotherly relations between the two countries and contributed to the broad understanding of the leaders of both countries and their sponsorship and guidance for the development of political relations.
During the past years, thanks to the interest of the leadership of the two countries, the Qatari-Sudanese relations have witnessed great steps to support and enhance bilateral co-operation in the political, economic, cultural and humanitarian fields and witnessed many mutual visits between the officials of the two countries on an ongoing basis to discuss enhancing mutual co-operation in various fields.
In this context, assistant to the Sudan president, Major General Abdulrahman al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, stressed, during his visit to Doha last March, the strong relations between his country and Qatar and the tremendous co-operation between them in all fields.
He described the bilateral relations as distinguished, praising Qatar’s great role in achieving peace in Darfur and in enhancing security and stability in the region, stressing that Qatar is one of the countries that honour Arabs in all fields in which they participate.
The Sudanese government praised through Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Obaidullah Mohammed Obaidullah, the great role played by the Qatari leadership to achieve stability in Sudan through regional and international forums, which was characterised by the great support that enabled Sudan to face the external challenges and overcome the difficulties and
obstacles it faced.
Obaidullah said that the government and the people of Sudan preserve in their memory the strong Qatari positions supporting their country, which was a fundamental reason and a major positive turning point to preserve and defend the Sudanese international rights.
Hence, the Qatari-Sudanese relations are profound, complementary and have been confirmed by Qatar’s remarkable positions towards Sudan and its issues. These relations were reflected by the co-ordination in international and regional forums, mutual visits, as well as Qatar’s interest in issues related to Sudan’s stability, peace and development, in particular, the Qatari initiative on the Darfur issue, which was culminated in the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement in Doha and the subsequent reconstruction and development projects through the Qatar
Development Initiative in Darfur.
Economically, Qatari investments in Sudan represent a large proportion of foreign investment in Sudan, through Qatari institutions such as Qatar National Bank (QNB), Diar Real Estate Investment, Widam, Hassad Food Company, Barwa Real Estate Group and Qatar Mining, in addition to Silatech, Education Above All and Qatar Museums projects as well as Qatar Charity, Qatar Red Crescent, the five Darfur projects and the UN Development Fund for Darfur projects.
The current Qatari investment in Sudan amounts to more than $2bn and is expected to rise with the introduction of new sectors such as Qatar Mining Company (QM) which will invest more than $1bn in its field.
Hassad Food’s agriculture project is the most prominent, where the company will contribute to the cultivation of 260,000 acres in the River Nile state. The company is also implementing an electricity project in the area with a value of more than $200mn where many phases have been completed. Whereas Widam Food which focuses on the field of live red meat and butchery and exports it to Qatar and other Gulf states and now seeks to extend its investments to include poultry and other types of meat.
In addition, Qatar National Bank (QNB), which is considered one of the most distinguished and profitable banks, with 14 branches in Sudanese cities, whereas QM is investing in seven mining blocks, considered to be among the most promising blocks in the field of exporting gold and other minerals.
On the other hand, Qatari Diar is implementing the biggest construction project in Khartoum, the major project costs billions of dollars and will contribute to changing the image of Khartoum. The project integrates 5-star hotels, educational and medical institutions and a large mosque.
Within the framework of the Qatar-Sudan Archaeological Project in the River Nile and Northern states, Qatar provided more than $50mn to the archaeological missions working there since its launch in 2012. The results revealed the success of Qatar’s efforts represented in Qatar Museums with regards to providing support and the conservation of Sudanese archaeological sites, by running researches, excavation and restoration works using the latest technological media. Qatar Museums also facilitated the transport of Sudanese to the archaeological sites and developing the skills of Sudanese academic institutions and refining their expertise.
In the humanitarian field, Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) signed, last August, a number of Qatari developmental projects worth $70mn in Khartoum, as part of Qatar’s initiative for the development of Darfur. The initiative will implement comprehensive projects in villages and complexes of voluntary return in the five Darfur states, with two projects per state. The projects consist of a model complex with multi services and programmes to support bread winning for voluntary returnees and the hosting communities to enable them economically. The project will also build peace, social harmony, support projects and utilities of public interest, provide a suitable provision for voluntary returnees. This project is considered one of the most prominent projects
financed by QFFD.
There are 300,000 people who will benefit from this support which will run for five years. Each service complex includes two primary and secondary schools for boys and girls, medical centre, mosque, 15 residences for the complex employees, water station, corridors and green areas. All complex units will be supplied with solar energy and QFFD will manage the centre for three years before gradually handing it over to the local community committees after training and rehabilitating them in co-operation with the official authorities such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Health and the state water and environmental sanitation authority. (QNA)