Zovko participates in AFET mission to Ethiopia and Sudan

Brussels, 23 September 2022
Vice Chair of the Committee for Foreign Affairs, Željana Zovko participated in a parliamentary mission to Ethiopia and Sudan. At the end of the mission, the delegation published the following statement.
Statement by Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, following its visit to Ethiopia and Sudan on 20-22 September
MEPs took stock of the latest developments in the Tigray conflict and the Sudanese democracy struggle.

A Foreign Affairs Committee delegation, led by its chair, David McAllister (EPP), visited Ethiopia and Sudan on 20-22 September to discuss the Tigray conflict in the North of Ethiopia, the strength of the EU-AU cooperation, the global effects – especially as regards food security – of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, and the Sudanese democracy struggle.

During their visit to Addis Ababa on 20 and 21 September, MEPs emphasised the European Parliament’s support to all diplomatic efforts towards ending the ongoing conflict within Ethiopia.

On the first day in Addis Ababa, MEPs held meetings with the President of Ethiopia, the Speaker of the House and the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, representatives of the Ethiopian government, authorities and civil society, primarily to discuss the latest developments in the armed conflict in the Tigray region and matters related to global and regional security.

Members called on all actors for a permanent ceasefire, peace talks under the auspicies of the African Union.

Members stressed that the EU stands ready to gradually reinstate budget support and EU assistance if certain conditions are met, inter alia the cessation of hostilities, full and unhindered humanitarian access across Ethiopia, including in the Tigray region. Members also expressed their strong support for transitional justice to hold the perpetrators of human rights violations accountable and they called for the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean forces from the Ethiopian territory, and the facilitation of internal reconciliation.

On their second day in Addis Ababa, Members held talks at the African Union headquarters to follow up on the European Union – African Union summit held in Brussels on 17-18 February 2022. Members discussed matters of global and regional security following Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, multilateral cooperation between the EU and the AU as well as the role of the AU as mediator in the Ethiopian conflict and foreign interference and disinformation on the African continent by external actors.

In their talks with various AU partners, Members raised in particular the stance of African countries as regards Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and stressed that this attack against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a European State entails a violation of the UN Charter and of the international order, which should be a matter of deep concern for the African continent.

On 22 September, the delegation visited Sudan and met with Sudanese authorities and civil society in Khartoum to discuss the ongoing efforts to ensure the country’s transition towards democracy.

Members had the opportunity to meet with key players from the various political forces, women groups, civil society, defenders of human rights, including Salih Mahmoud Mohamed Osman, the 2007 laureate of the Sakharov Prize, and Sudanese officials to discuss the ongoing efforts to put back on track Sudan’s transition to democracy.

At a meeting with General Shamseldin Al Kabashi, Member of the Sovereignty Council and General Mohamed Hamadan Daglo, Vice President of the Sovereign Council, the AFET mission confirmed that the EU stands with the people of Sudan in their democratic aspirations.

Sudan needs a fresh start. But the fresh start will be with the civilian government which the people of Sudan are yearning for.

Members reiterated their firm support for the ongoing efforts of the Tripartite Mechanism to help bridge differences among the Sudanese parties and initiatives and to facilitate the restoration of the transition to democracy, including by supporting the electoral process. All Sudanese actors should engage constructively and inclusively in the political process.

Members also emphasised that a transitional justice process also needs to start. Those who committed human rights violations since 30 June 1989 need to be held accountable. The UN Security Council Resolution 1593, which in 2005 referred the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court, requires Sudan to co-operate fully with the court. Displaced people in Darfur need to see justice done.

Time is of the essence. Further delay in agreeing on the way out of the crisis will exacerbate the deterioration of the economy and humanitarian situation all over the country and will aggravate the already immense challenges that the people of Sudan are facing. Thus, Members urged all parties to come to an agreement.

In addition to Mr McAllister, the delegation was composed of the following MEPs: Urmas Paet (Renew Europe), Vice-Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Željana Zovko (EPP), Vice-Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Carlos Zorrinho (S&D), Chair of the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Michael Gahler (EPP), Vice-Chair of the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and Juozas Olekas (S&D), Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

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