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Sudan, UK discuss peace efforts in Darfur

Refugees who fled the conflict in Sudan's western Darfur region carry belongings home at dusk at Djabal camp near Gos Beida in eastern Chad, June 12, 2008 reu.

September 4, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s State Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdalla Idris and UK State Minister for the Commonwealth and the United Nations, Lord Tariq Ahmad, have discussed ways to promote bilateral ties and the situation in Darfur.

In a press release on Monday, the Foreign Ministry said the meeting also discussed the exit strategy of the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) besides the need to enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.

Last July, the United Nations Security Council unanimously decided to extend for one year the mandate the UNAMID and also to reduce the number of its troops in line with an exit strategy aiming to close the hybrid operation in two years.

According to the press release, the visiting British official expressed his country’s desire to promote bilateral ties, stressing keenness to enhance joint coordination in international forums.

Ahmad, who also serves as UK Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief, pointed to the need to promote religious freedoms and human rights.

For his part, Idris demanded the UK government to support Sudan’s efforts to move from humanitarian assistance to peacebuilding and development in Darfur.

He praised the positive developments in bilateral relations and the strategic dialogue between Sudan and the UK, pointing to government efforts to achieve peace in South Sudan.

On Saturday, the British embassy in Khartoum said Lord Ahmad would seek to see how UK support for the UN is helping to change the lives of ordinary Sudanese people.

It added the British official will visit peacebuilding projects which are helping local communities establish stability and lasting peace in Darfur.

Since 2015, Sudan and the UK have started a dialogue upon request from Khartoum to push forward bilateral ties.

In March 2016, Sudan and the UK held the first strategic consultations meetings between the two countries in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. The meeting was considered the first talks of its kind at the ministerial level in 25 years.

The two countries agreed to exchange visits at the level of senior officials from the two countries along with increasing cooperation in the fields of economy, investment and culture.

The UK Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Chris Trott last year visited Khartoum several times to discuss ways to develop bilateral relations and encourage Khartoum efforts to reduce the illegal immigration from the Horn of African countries towards Europe and Britain especially.

The dialogue also was seen within the framework of the after-Brexit policy aiming to develop trade relations with the former British colonies.

(ST)