The first meeting of the African Discussion Club on the situation in Sudan, was held on June 13, 2019 in the press center of the news agency Оsnmedia.ru.
According to the President of the Foundation, Alexander Malkevich, the project was created by the Foundation for the Protection of National Values to casually discuss the issues on the development of African countries and their interaction with other states, primarily with Russia, engaging the expert community and the continent representatives. Whereas protesters in a number of countries worldwide try to communicate their position by arranging rallies, the Fund provides a unique opportunity for representatives of various parties as well as state spokesman to make a point on urgent issues at the public sessions of the African Discussion Club.
Sudan’s Ambassador to Russia Nadir Yousif El-Tayeb Babiker thanked the event organizers for their attention to the African problems and Sudanese, in particular.
The diplomat expressed gratitude to Russia for understanding, support and non-interference in the domestic policy of Sudan during the political crisis. At the same time, he noted that his country was committed to a strategic partnership with Russia.
“I urge everyone to establish mutual understanding with Africa and Sudan. Only in this way we can reach a positive solution for everyone. We welcome all fraternal countries that are not indifferent to the fate of our country,” the diplomat stressed.
According to the Ambassador, not all countries adhere to a policy of non-interference in the affairs of sovereign states. In particular, he noted that meetings of Western diplomats with participants in the protests that have been taking place for several months in the country violate the diplomacy.
As the British political analyst Clifton Ellis pointed out during the discussion, historically, Western states used different methods to control the situation on the African continent, both from a strategic and management and access to natural resources point of view.
“We are seeing that there are so-called Western NGOs that actually play the role of state institutions in introducing elements of social and cultural policy in African countries. Western governments, as a rule, use the UN as their appendage to protect their actions, pursue their goals, thereby undermining the sovereignty of African countries,” the expert believes.
As he stressed, the ways to accomplish it are sanctions, embargo, restriction of access to world financial markets, the latter being crucial for the development of states.
“If with their help they cannot reach the goal, then they go over to the scorched earth policy, military conflicts, and destabilize the situation,” the political scientist said.
He also welcomed Russia’s position on non-interference in the domestic policies of Sudan.
Mikhail Potepkin, a member of the Board of Trustees for the Foundation for the Protection of National Values, is convinced that Sudan’s active cooperation with Russia and China is among the reasons for the country’s destabilizing state, which is of interest to the Western powers.
“Moreover, the transition to the active phase of the Orange Revolution began after Sudan started to work closely with Russia,” he said. In addition, according to the expert, Sudan has a fairly independent policy, it has a major impact on the entire region, participates in peacekeeping processes, and is also a major logistics hub – it is one of the key ports in East Africa.
Member of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy (CFDP), co-chair of the National Strategy Council, political analyst Sergei Markov drew attention to the potential of the Foundation for the Protection of National Values and the African Discussion Club in terms of building up Russia’s “soft power” in the region. According to Markov, when it comes to its expansion into Africa, the United States relies both on the potential of transcontinental corporations, military power and “soft power” embodied in a pop culture and its own value system. China relies solely on the enormous resources of its companies. Russia uses both its defense potential and the resources of national corporations. The appearance of the third pillar in the form of “soft power” in Russian foreign policy could significantly strengthen the position of the Russian Federation on the African continent. Therefore, the activities of the African Discussion Club create favorable conditions for realizing this potential.
In conclusion to the session, its participants approved the idea of the Assistant Ambassador of Sudan for Economic Affairs, Omar al-Farouq Kamil, to invite envoys of IGAD states (the Intergovernmental Authority on Development) to subsequent meetings. The latter is a trade and economic bloc that unites 8 states – Ethiopia, Djibouti, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Kenya and Uganda.
Participants of the African Discussion Club also expressed hope that the new Sudanese authorities would carry out the economic reforms vital for the country, and that the world community would take a neutral position and would not be a hurdle for the Sudanese government in trying to keep the country from chaos and civil war.
Alexander Malkevich said that the Fondation for the Protection of National Values intends to keep drawing attention to the collaborative issues between Russia and African countries, which are to be frequently discussed by experts in the framework of the African Discussion Club.