March 12, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The United Kingdom’s Ambassador in Khartoum and Sudan’s interior minister met on Monday to discuss projects to improve policing and prison services which are being funded by the British government.
As well as the ongoing training for the British Ambassador, Peter Tibber and Sudan’s interior minister, Ibrahim Mahmood Hamid also discussed bilateral ties.
In January the UK’s minister the Department for International Development (DFID), Lynne Featherstone, visited Sudan’s western region of Darfur to visit projects funded by the UK, which is Sudan’s second largest bi-lateral donor.
While in Sudan, Featherstone announced that the UK intended to cancel all of Sudan’s $1.16 billion debt to the UK, an act that has frustrated critics of the Khartoum government.
At a meeting in January to promote his recent film made during a visit to the South Kordofan and Blue Nile, Mukesh Kapila, a former United Nations representative to Sudan argued that the UK’s policy to Sudan should focus on securing humanitarian access for conflict-affected areas rather than cancelling debt and trying to promote trade.
The Sudanese embassy in London, however, welcomed Featherstones trip, contrasting it with Baroness Caroline Cox who it said had illegally crossed into Sudan on the same trip as Kapila to visit rebelled held areas of the two states to witness the humanitarian situation there.
Following this meeting with the Sudanese interior minister the Ambassador said:
“The UK is committed to Sudan and to playing a role in all areas which affect the Sudanese people. Our development programmes are huge, and we hope that by working together with both Sudanese communities and the Rule of Law institutions, we can support building peace and stability in Sudan.”
The UK’s training of the Sudanese National Police is taking place in Khartoum State, Red Sea State and South Darfur State and, according to the embassy, "is aimed at developing the concept of community policing, which brings together the police and members of the community to work together to increase security. Through Community Police Academies, trust is developed between the security forces and local populations."
The programme is also attempting to train prison officers, including at Kober Prison - formerly known as Cooper Prison during the colonial period - which is renowned for housing political prisoners and those on death row.
It was from Khartoum’s maximum-security Kober Prison that four men, convicted of the murder in 2008 of US diplomat John Granville, escaped in 2010 with the apparent help of Al-Qaeda.