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Sudan, France discuss peace process, refugees

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France's Ambassador Emmanuelle Blatmann (C) and Franch Special Envoy Stéphane Gruenberg pose with the Chairman of the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Mohamed Mukhtar who is also a member of the government delegation for peace talks with armed groups on 25 April 2018 (French Embassy Twitter's page)
April 25, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Presidential Assistant Faisal Hassan Ibrahim and the French Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Stéphane Gruenberg Wednesday Sudan’s peace process and issues of common concern including the Horn of Africa refugees.

Gruenberg is the first French special envoy for Sudan to support the African Union-led process for a comprehensive settlement for the armed conflict in Darfur region, the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

The director of the European department at the Foreign Ministry Khalid Musa told reporters the meeting discussed the peace process with armed groups.

Musa further said the presidential aide expressed the government’s desire to negotiate with the rebel movements particularly in the Two Areas, pointing to the stable security situation in Darfur.

The Sudanese diplomat pointed out that Ibrahim also briefed the French envoy on the recent developments in the country including implementation of the national dialogue outcome, drafting of the new constitution, the 2020 elections and the democratic transformation.

For his part, Gruenberg underscored France’s desire to support peace and stability in Sudan, pointing to Paris support for the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to achieve comprehensive peace in Sudan.

Sudanese government and armed groups in Darfur recently held an informal meeting in Bon to discuss a pre-negotiation but the government rejected rebels’ demand for declaration of principles proposing that they join the Doha framework document.

In addition, the government says Darfur region is free of the holdout groups pointing they are now a source of regional instability doing mercenary activities in the neighbouring countries.

The Sudanese diplomat added the meeting discussed a number of issues including refugees, illegal migration and human trafficking.

While the French envoy praised Sudan’s efforts to host the refugees and cooperate with the international community on combating illegal migration, smuggling and human trafficking.

The former French ambassador to Asmara, toured Eritrean refugees camps in Kassala state before to meet Sudanese officials in Khartoum.

France supports local initiatives to support Eritrean refugees in Eastern Sudan through education, healthcare and professional formation.

The presidential assistant stressed Sudan’s keenness to promote bilateral relations with France and to coordinate in all issues of common concern.

Ibrahim further called on the French envoy to enhance the economic cooperation between the two countries by encouraging the French companies to invest in Sudan.

Sudan and France resumed bilateral meetings after several years of strain over rebel presence in France. In the past, Sudan accused France of backing rebel groups in Darfur region.

France denied the accusation and reiterated that it encourages the armed groups to join the peace process.

(ST)

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