Mohamed Beshir Hamid

1980-81: A Year of Wavering Indecision


Volume 13

Annual Survey and Documents
Sudan Chapter
Mohamed Beshir Hamid


Download the FULL 1980-1981 record as PDF 

Sudan: A Year of Wavering Indecision


Only two new developments of significance occurred during 1980: the dramatic attempt at rapprochement with Ethiopia, and the inauguration of regional government as a step towards administrative devolution. Controversy continued over the issue of ‘national reconciliation’, with the former opposition leader, Sadiq aI-Mahdi, still calling for radical changes in the political system, and Numeiry’s hard-line supporters in the Sudanese Socialist Union (SSU) accusing the former opposition of using public forums for ends contrary to their own revolutionary goals.


In Southern Sudan, Abel Alier was brought back to the presidency of the High Executive Council (NEC), following the April elections. In the economic field, the picture continued to be gloomy as Sudan desperately tried to come to grips with economic and financial problems that seemed to be constantly moving one step ahead of remedial measures, But there was some glimpse of future improvement with the official confirmation of important oil discoveries.


In foreign affairs, the regime continued to distance itself from Egypt, especially from the Camp David peace process, and to draw closer to the more conservative Arab states. Iraq’s change of policy helped in beginning a rapprochement between the two countries. But Sudan’s foreign interests continued to be mainly focused on its African neighbours.


The domestic scene witnessed three main developments in 1980: the continuing search for a mutually acceptable formula for national reconciliation; the Sudan’s bold move into the still largely uncharted waters of regional government; and a change of administration in Southern Sudan that seemed to move the region’s politics back to square one but which, at the same time, seemed at least temporarily to have strengthened Numeiry’s position in that volatile region.1


Download the FULL 1980-1981 record as PDF


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