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Sudan receives 100 million euros from EU to stem irregular migrants

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February 17, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The European Commission Wednesday announced a 100 million euro package to support Sudan to address root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons. It also pledged to continue its humanitarian aid for the east African nation.

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Migrants from Eritrea sit near tents as they live in a make-shift camp under a metro bridge in Paris, France, May 28, 2015. (Photo Reuters/Benoit Tessier)

The announcement was made after a meeting Tuesday between Sudanese foreign minister, Ibrahim Ghandour and his EU counterpart Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission.

Ghandour who is visiting Brussels on an invitation by the EU top diplomat, met also with EU Commissioner for migration Avramopoulos, on Tuesday and Commissioner for Humanitarian aid, Christos Stylianides, on Wednesday.

The purpose of the visit is to discuss the implementation of Valletta Action Plan adopted in November 2015 which aims to support African countries within the framework of Rabat and Khartoum process to promote development and eradicate poverty.

A statement issued by the EU office in Khartoum said the parties agreed to strengthen relations on issues of migration and humanitarian affairs.

"While the EU is preparing a €100 million package for Sudan under the Trust Fund and is ready to further support any concrete efforts to tackle migration. The EU will also continue to provide humanitarian assistance to people in need, victims of conflict or natural disasters in Sudan,’’ said the statement.

"It was underlined that the lack of timely access to the population in need remains a challenge for donors and implementing partners," further said.

Mogherini and Ghandour discussed the importance of resolving internal issues, end conflicts and have an inclusive national dialogue.

"Ongoing conflicts in Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur and recurrent violations of international human rights and humanitarian law remain a concern for the EU," said the statement.

Ghandour also met EU Commissioner for migration Avramopoulos, on Tuesday and Commissioner for Humanitarian aid, Christos Stylianides, on Wednesday.

The EU statement said Ghandour’s visit was "a first step" to set the direction for future EU - Sudan cooperation on issues of common concern such as domestic peace, regional security, migration, and counter-terrorism.

Ghandour’s visit indicates a shift of EU policy towards Sudan, which was considered as pariah state but is seen now as an unavoidable regional actor in light of the migration crisis and the surge of terrorism in the world.

The 100 million euro come in line with the Valletta plan, and EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa. The EU financial support aims to boost socio-economic development and self-reliance.

The EU plan also intends to involve the European Union in the settlement of internal conflict and crises that generate internal mass displacement, irregular migration and refugee flows.

The Valletta document speaks about undertaking diplomatic initiatives including mediation efforts and support to the implementation of peace agreements and reconciliation processes.

EU countries still have no unified vision towards Sudan. While Germany and Italy push towards normalization of relations others EU actors remain sceptical towards the government in Khartoum.

During a meeting Sunday with a visiting delegation from the British House of Lords, Ghandour stressed his country’s keenness to develop relations with EU countries and to "correct inaccurate reports" about the situation in Sudan.

(ST)

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