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French deputy speaker confirms the visit of Sudan’s spy chief to Paris

October 20, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The deputy speaker of the French National Assembly Carole Bureau-Bonnard confirmed the visit of the director of the National Intelligence and Security Services to Paris as she admitted meeting him at the Sudanese embassy in Paris.

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Salah Gosh, NISS General Director (Reuters/file photo)

Salah Gosh was in an unannounced visit to Paris on 9 October for talks with French intelligence officials over the situation in the Central African Republic as Khartoum is preparing to host negotiations between the armed groups and the government.

Bureau-Bonnard confirmed to the AFP that she and another Member of Parliament Jean-Baptiste Djebbari had taken part in a dinner at the Sudanese embassy with Salah Gosh during his visit to Paris on 10 October.

However, she said they had no knowledge of his participation in the dinner.

The deputy speaker who is tasked with the international activities at the National Assembly stressed she and Djebbari, the head of the France-Sudan friendship parliamentarian group went to the dinner after receiving the Sudanese ambassador at the National Assembly.

"This is done for the 154 existing friendship groups," she said.

"It’s about cultural cooperation, we’re not diplomatic actors," pointed out Djebbari in a statement to the French news agency.

The two French Lawmakers said they were not aware of the accusations about Gosh’s in the human rights violations and war crimes committed in Darfur.

Sources close to the file say the Sudanese intelligence chief discussed during his visit the ongoing Sudanese efforts to bring stability in the Central African Republic.

The process, which is now an integrated to the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation, was encouraged and supported by Russia.

CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadéra is now a close ally to Russia which provided him with weapons and military trainers for his army, following Paris’s disinterest in its former colony during the mandate of President François Hollande.

Gosh reportedly reassured the French officials over the Sudanese-Russian ’economic’ cooperation with CAR government as Moscow is focused on the development of the mining industry by the Russian firms.

The Sudanese and French security services cooperated during the 2002-2003 political crisis in the Central Africa Republic which ended in March 2003 when the former rebel François Bozizé took the control of the capital Bangui while the President Ange-Felix Patasse was abroad.

(ST)