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French delegation visits Eritrean refugees in Sudan’s Kassala State

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Ambassador Emmanuelle Blatmann and Special Envoy Stéphane Gruenberg visit the Wad Sherifai camp near Eritrea, 23 April 2018 (Photo Blatmann's Twitter page)

April 23, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - French Ambassador to Khartoum Emmanuelle Blatmann and the French Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Stéphane Gruenberg Monday paid a visit to Kassala to inspect Eritrean refugees camps in the State.

Kassala state, which borders Eritrea, is a transit point for illegal immigrants from Eritrea who seek to reach Europe through Egypt and Libya.

Eritreans made up the largest group of people from Africa making the perilous voyage to Europe last year. The trend continued during the first three months of this year according to the UNHCR.

The French delegation visited Shagara and Wad Sherifai camps near the Eritrean border, and the premises of the France-backed local humanitarian group, Zenab which support Eritrean migrants victim of human trafficking.

The two camps, supported by the French government, provide Education and protection of minors, professional training for women and men, health care and nutrition for children.

During a meeting with Governor of Kassala State Adam Jama’a, the two sides discussed ways to enhance relations between Sudan and France and particularly Kassala besides the situation in the eastern state.

The governor welcomed the visit of the French diplomats to Kassala. He briefed the delegation on the situation in Kassala as well as the efforts being exerted to combat various types of cross-border crimes, expressing hope for continued cooperation between his state and France in all fields.

For her part, the French Ambassador said that the meeting discussed ways to promote future partnership between the two sides, saying the discussions were fruitful and yielded a number of understandings to support joint cooperation.

France, like other European Union countries, seeks to stop the flow of illegal migrants and refugees from the Horn of Africa region who take deadly sea crossing to Europe.

Besides the European Union, Germany and Italy have already provided support to the Sudanese government efforts to stop illegal migrants from reaching Libya.

Sudan is the main transit country for the Eritreans and other east African countries.

However, human rights groups criticised EU support to Sudan to curb migrants saying such support would bolster repressive capacities of the abusive security forces. But, they encouraged projects to provide direct support to refugees and local host communities.

(ST)

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