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UK says keen to increase trade with Sudan

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July 26, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The British government is keen to increase trade and investment relations with Sudan, a visiting official said today.

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Britain’s new minister for Africa Henry Bellingham speaks during his meeting with Sudanese officials in Khartoum July 26, 2010 (Reuters)

At a press briefing held yesterday at the British ambassador’s residence in Khartoum, the UK’s new state minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham, said that that one of London’s priorities is to build stronger trade relations with Sudan.

"One of our top priorities is to increase trade with different countries around the world, particularly in Africa," Bellingham said.

"The trade we have with Sudan at the moment is very good. Our bilateral trade is well over 100 million sterling but we feel the scope for that trade can increase," he added.

Prior to the press briefing, Bellingham held talks with senior government officials, including presidential adviser Mustafa Osman Ismail and industry minister Awad al-Jaz.

Sudan official news agency (SUNA) said that the talks tackled bilateral relations between the two countries and means of boosting them as well as the progress of implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement (CPA), the situation in Darfur and the implementation of the Eastern Sudan Agreement.

Bellingham praised the realization of the progress in the democratic transformation process in the country, SUNA said, affirming his country’s continuation in supporting the efforts finding peaceful resolution in Darfur. The British official was also quoted as saying that his country gives priority to the trade and investment in Sudan, pledging that Britain will contribute to that matter.

At the press conference Bellingham called oil "very important" but said British companies were "lagging behind in the exploration and exploitation of oil all over Sudan, in the south and elsewhere. We think there is great potential there."

Sudan produces 500,000 barrels of oil per day and has reserves estimated at six billion barrels, most of it on the border between north and south, making it the continent’s fifth largest oil producer. Chinese, Indian and Malaysian companies dominate the oil exploration industry in the East African country.

The United States imposed economic sanctions against Khartoum in 1997, accusing it of playing host to international terrorists, complicating commercial ties with Sudan.

But Bellingham said that these sanctions are not to be associated with his country.

"There are no UK sanctions, there are US sanctions," he said, adding that they do not effect Britain. "We want to see more UK banks taking a positive view toward Sudan."

Bellingham, who is the first British minister to visit Sudan since the formation of the New Coalition Government in the United Kingdom, reiterated calls on Sudan to cooperate with ICC and ensure fair and free conduct of south Sudan’s referendum due in January 2011.

"We are supporters of the ICC process. We feel the government of Sudan should collaborate with the court over the existing arrest warrants, but on the other hand we don’t have an argument with the Sudanese people " Bellingham told reporters.

He added that it would be "wrong" for Britain "not to encourage the trade because trade equals wealth creation, jobs, prosperity, sustainability."

He said British exports to Sudan were 123 million pounds ($190 million) last year and Sudanese exports to Britain stood at 18 million pounds. He added Britain could use the community of 35,000 Sudanese living in Britain as a way to expand trade.

(ST)

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  • 27 July 2010 08:52, by DASODIKO

    Haaaaaa, they came back to their old prosts, who helped them to colonize Sudan. Its because the British now realized they their Grandson are loosing power in Sudan.

    British should compensate and apologize for people of South Sudan and Darfur for the damages caused for them by their made Jallbas. All suffering caused in South Sudan and today in Darfur were due to British dirty policies. The history will never forgive; I personally hope to see you shrink to one casstle, instead of now adays UK.

    repondre message

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