Article | Last updated: 06/07/2022 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Sudan has experienced a series of devastating internal conflicts since gaining independence in 1956. In 2005, the Government in Khartoum signed a peace agreement that gave the people in South Sudan the right to self-determination. South Sudan became an independent state in 2011.
Norway’s peace engagement in Sudan began in the late 1960s. Over the last 20 years, Norway has worked in close cooperation with the US and the UK (the other Troika countries) to support peaceful development in Sudan. Assisting the Khartoum Government in reaching peace agreements with various rebel groups has been an important aspect of this work. These efforts are ongoing. Norway established an embassy in Khartoum in 2005.
The 2019 revolution
In the autumn of 2018, unrest broke out in Sudan against deteriorating living conditions and the rule of the military dictator, Omal al-Bashir, who had been in power since an Islamist-led coup in 1989. The shift in political power came in 2019 when a number of prominent military leaders deposed and imprisoned President Bashir. Later that year, after further widespread protests, a power-sharing agreement was reached between civilian representatives and the military on a three-year transition period intended to lead to free elections and a fully-fledged democratic government.
Setbacks in the transition process
In October 2021, the Sudanese military led by head of the transitional Sovereignty Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces General Abdel Fatah al-Burhan staged a military coup and took control of the government. The country has been in political deadlock since then. Those who are currently in power are showing little willingness to include civilians in the government, and the relationship between the military and the civilian sides is polarised. The promising civil-military cooperation on a transition process towards democracy, established after the revolution in 2019, has so far fallen by the wayside. There is a risk that the significant political and economic reforms implemented by the transitional government will be abandoned or reversed. This is having a severe impact on international support for Sudan. The comprehensive debt relief process has, for example, been put on hold.
Broad Norwegian effort to promote peaceful development
Norway has condemned the military coup and expressed concern over tightened restrictions on freedom of expression and the use of repressive measures against the Sudanese people. Norway has also been working, in particular as part of the Troika and the Friends of Sudan group, to encourage the resumption of the transition process and the re-establishment of civil-military cooperation on the transition.
There is ongoing dialogue with a wide range of Sudanese stakeholders, such as those currently in power in Khartoum, various political groups, representatives of civil society, the parties to the 2020 Juba Peace Agreement, including former rebel groups, and rebel groups that have not yet signed any agreement. Norway is also working with international actors such as the UN and the African Union, as well as with other countries in the region, to re-establish and revitalise an inclusive process.