CIA delegation attends African Security and Intelligence Meeting in Sudan

KHARTOUM, SUDAN – SEPTEMBER 28: Field Marshall President of the Republic Omar al-Bashir during the Playing of the Sudan National Anthem at the Opening Ceremony of the 14th Ordinary Session of CISSA Conference in the International Friendship Hall in Khartoum, Sudan on September 28, 2017. From September 28-29, the 14th CISSA summit of the African Union takes places. CISSA is the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa.

51 Directors General of Foreign Intelligence and Security Agencies of African countries participated in the 14th Summit of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services (CISSA) of Africa of the African Union which was held from September 27 until 30 in Sudan. A high-ranking Delegation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Director General of the General Intelligence Presidency (GIP) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were invited to the session as guests.

The appearance of the CIA at a Security Agencies conference in Khartoum is interpreted by observers in the intelligence community as a sign of a possible normalization of Sudanese-American diplomatic relations. Recently, US President Donald Trump removed Sudan from his travel ban list and earlier this year, the United States lifted several economic and trade sanctions on Sudan due to cooperation with the Sudanese government in fighting terrorism, reducing conflict, and denying safe haven to South Sudanese rebels and improving humanitarian access to people in need.

US sanctions are however still in place. Sudan’s President Umar Al-Bashir said in his keynote address at the CISSA Summit: „The US trade embargo on Sudan is unjust and US sanctions have weakened my country and caused immense hardship for its people. Despite the sanctions concentrated efforts are being taken for achieving national security and stability and for countering extremism.”“ The Sudanese President’s speech in the presence of the CIA Delegation in Khartoum happened only two weeks before Trump will decide whether the USA will permanently lift its embargo on Sudan imposed more than 20 years ago based on the allegation of „supporting terrorism“.

Sudan has always denied these allegations. Al Bashir said at the conference under the theme of a comprehensive strategic partnership towards combating terrorism and realizing political stability in Africa: „It’s our conviction that our national security will not be complete unless we have security and stability in all our neighbor countries, especially South Sudan and we are hopeful that will get calm, stability and peace in a very short time.“

Terrorists recognize no boundaries. For example, the Daesh terrorist group had used established routes to bring foreign fighters into Libya from neighbouring countries including Sudan, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria. These transnational threats are main challenges for the security of Africa and not limited to National states. „The largest number of fighters had been brought in from Sudan and transited through the Libyan city of Ajdabiya, about 350 km (218 miles) east of Sirte“, Sadiq Al-Sour, head of investigations for Libya’s Attorney General’s office, said at a news conference in Tripoli on September 28th, according to a REUTERS report. A Senior Sudani intelligence officers declined to comment at the venue of the CISSA summit in Khartoum.

Sani Ibrahim Abani, the Acting Secretary General of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) who is also based in Tripoli emphasized at the 14th CISSA Summit in Khartoum that countering terrorist groups need joint task forces, cross-boarder actions and transnational collaborations. „This comprehensive strategic approach is necessary to establish region-wide security on the African continent in order to pave the way on the ground for political stability and economic development.“

Brigade General Joseph Nzabamwita, the Secretary General of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) of the Republic of Rwanda handed-over the CISSA-Chairmanship to Mohammad Atta Al Mula Abbas, the Director General of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) of the Republic of Sudan. The hand-over ceremony took place during the closed session of the 14th CISSA summit.

KHARTOUM, SUDAN – SEPTEMBER 28: The General Intelligence Presidency (GIP) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia arrives to the 14th Ordinary Session of CISSA Conference in the International Friendship Hall in Khartoum, Sudan on September 28, 2017. From September 28-29, the 14th CISSA summit of the African Union takes places. CISSA is the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa.

1st Intellectual Forum of the African Union chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi in Sudan

KHARTOUM, SUDAN – SEPTEMBER 27: The First Intellectual Forum at the High Academy for Strategic and Security Studies (H.A.S.S.S.) in Khartoum, Sudan on September 27, 2017.

The 1st Intellectual Forum of the African Union (AU) convened this week in Sudan. The Conference under the theme „Political Stability in Africa: Constraints and Prospects of the Future“ was chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria from 1991 to 1993 and United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria until 2014.

Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, addressed the leader of several African nations at the Forum: „Africa gets the first forum that brings intellectuals together with intelligence officers to strategize together. Political stability and security are belonging together. You cannot have political stability if there is insecurity.“

Mohammad Atta Al Mula Abbas, the Director General of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) of the Republic of Sudan, highlighted in his keynote speech a vision of a new cooperative pan-African security architecture towards an effective Partnership strategic of the African continent. „The issue of political stability is the most important and common concern of all African countries today“, Moula Abbas said.

Bakri Hassan Saleh, Prime Minister and First Vice President of Sudan, stressed: „At all levels on our continent we focus on political stability to pave the way to economic growth of our countries. This Forum is a chance to realizes changes in a secure future of our nations to gain real stability which guarantees development.“

Ali Hassan Mwinyi, President of the United Republic of Tanzania from 1985 to 1995, spoke in the opening ceremony about the impact of conflicts on development. Africa has 29 ongoing armed conflicts and a large number of separatists movement which destabilize the continent.

Numerous peakers blast Western countries for rising external factors which destabilize African countries. A common view among theses panelists was to reject regime change attempts and support of separatist movements by Western countries.

Nigeria’s ambassador to Sudan, Mohamed Ibrahim, who is one speakers of the Forum, said at the venue at the High Academy for Strategic and Security Studies (H.A.S.S.S.) in Khartoum: „After the independency of 54 African countries, 10 foreign states opened military basses all over Africa. The US forces use African countries as bases for their drone attacks outside Africa without concerning the security of African countries.“

Joseph Chilengi, the Presiding Officer of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union (AU-ECOSOCC), presented the Closing Communiqué and Recommendations of the First Intellectual Forum: “After commending the experiences of the Sudanese National Dialogue, conferees call for organizing a Comprehensive African Dialogue that tackles issues of peace and building inter- and intra-state reconciliation as to eventually reach an African dialogue at the continental level.”

KHARTOUM, SUDAN – SEPTEMBER 27: Algerian former Foreign Minister Dr. Lakhdar Brahimi holding the chair of the opening session of The First Intellectual Forum at the High Academy for Strategic and Security Studies (H.A.S.S.S.) in Khartoum, Sudan on September 27, 2017.