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France pledges €60m in aid for Sudan

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September 16, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Monday held talks with Sudanese officials and pledged 60 million euros in aid at the end of his one-day visit to Khartoum.

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Abdallah Hamdok shackes hands with the French Foreign Minister Le Drian in Khartoum on 16 September 2019 (ST Photo)

Le Drian’s visit to Sudan is the first of a high ranking French official since 2007 when then Minister Bernard Kouchner was in Khartoum.

He met with his Sudanese counterpart Asma Mohamed Abdallah before meeting Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdouk and Chairman of the Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

In a joint press conference with Abdallah, Le Drian vowed that France will support Sudan "in this sensitive transitional phase of its history."

France "will help Sudan to normalize relations with international financial institutions to solve the debt problem, and will work to develop cultural relations with Sudan."

He further said that "the transitional period if implemented as planned, Sudan will become an example to all countries of the region and the Arab world."

France would help Sudan to reintegrate into the international community. "It will also help him remove its name from the list of state sponsors of terrorism," he further said.

On October 6, 2017, the Trump administration lifted economic sanctions and a trade embargo imposed on Sudan since 1997.

But Washington has not removed Sudan from its list of "state sponsors of terrorism," which has been on the list since 1993, for hosting the late al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden.

For his part, the Chairman of the Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, discussed with the French Foreign Minister, the government’s efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in Sudan, which is crucial for the process of democratic building in the country.

France has been hosting the leaders of the Darfur armed groups during the past years including Abdel Wahid al-Nur who rejects calls to join the peace process.

The Sudanese Foreign Minister said that the challenges facing Sudan are not only those related to the transition to democratic civil rule but "the biggest challenge is to reach a comprehensive and just peace agreement".

"The French side expressed its readiness to contribute to efforts to advance the peace process in accordance with the vision of the Sudanese government, and the two sides agreed that peace in Sudan will contribute positively to the regional stability considering the important geopolitical position of Sudan."

She stressed that "the talks of the President of the Sovereign Council and the French Foreign Minister, touched on regional issues of mutual interest and exchange of views and coordination between them in the service of the common vision of Sudan and France."

In turn, the Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdallah Hamdok, expressed his country’s keenness to strengthen the joint cooperation between the two countries.

Hamdok also praised France’s efforts to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Le Drian said that the meeting with Hamdok discussed the arrangements for the Sudanese prime minister’s visit to France in the next two days.

The Elysee Palace announced Monday that French President Emmanuel Macron will meet on Thursday with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, who will stop in Paris before to travel to New York to take part in the UN General Assembly.

Le Drian again said he discussed the need to achieve peace in Sudan.

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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