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France making efforts to bring Sudanese rebels to negotiating table: Ambassador

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 French Ambassador to Khartoum Emmanuelle Blatman speaks to the press after a meeting with the FVP Bakri Hassan Saleh (ST Photo)
March 10, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The French Ambassador to Khartoum Emmanuelle Blatmann said Paris is making efforts to bring Sudanese opposition groups to the negotiating table to achieve peace in the East African nation.

Last week, the Sudanese state minister for foreign affairs Hamid Mumtaz called on the French government to persuade the armed groups to lay down weapons and join the peace process.

Sudanese political and armed opposition groups will hold a three-day meeting in Paris from 13 to 16 March to discuss a joint position on the African Union-mediated political process as the mediators plan to reshape a roadmap agreement signed by the parties in 2016.

The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) on Saturday quoted Blatmann as saying France looks forward to taking part in the efforts of the regional and international community and the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to resolving the Sudanese crises according to the roadmap agreement.

She stressed that France supports all international efforts to promote development in Sudan, saying she recently discussed with a number of Sudanese officials ways to achieve sustainable peace in the country.

The diplomat further described the Sudanese-French relations as distinct, saying it has witnessed a remarkable improvement during the past period.

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

France, which has appointed a special envoy to support the African Union efforts for peace in Sudan, denied the accusation and reiterated that it encourages the armed groups to join the peace process.

Last January, Sudan’s foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour postponed a planned visit to Paris.

Sudanese officials said the visit was delayed due to Ghandour’s participation in the African summit in Addis Ababa. The visit will take place at a later date to be determined through diplomatic channels.

(ST)

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