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France special envoy meets N. Darfur deputy governor

North Darfur Deputy Governor Mohamed Biraima meets with the visiting French Special Envoy Stéphane Gruenberg (C) and French Ambassador to Khartoum Emmanuelle Blatmann in El Fasher on Sunday 11 November 2017 (ST photo)
November 12, 2017 (EL-FASHER) - A senior French delegation on Sunday has arrived in El Fasher, North Darfur state capital to at the beginning of a tour to inspect the security and humanitarian situation in the restive region.

The delegation, which includes the French Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Stéphane Gruenberg and the French Ambassador to Khartoum Emmanuelle Blatmann, has met with the deputy governor of North Darfur Mohamed Biraima.

Biraima told Sudan Tribune following the meeting he briefed the visiting delegation on the security situation in the state, pointing to reconciliations among the various tribes.

The meeting also discussed the reconfiguration process of the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as well as the progress of the disarmament campaign.

Last June, the African Union and the United Nations decided to draw down the UNAMID by withdrawing the military personnel by 44% and that of the police component by 30%, the closure of 11 team sites in the first phase and the withdrawal of the military component from another seven team sites in the second phase.

But at the same time, the Council decided the opening of a temporary operating base in the Jebel Marra town of Golo.

“The envoy [Gruenberg] stressed that France would confidently support development in Sudan especially in areas of agriculture, animal production, culture and the various fields after Darfur has stabilized,” said Biraima.

He pointed out that the French diplomats have underscored the need to direct support towards development, infrastructure, reconciliation and stability during the coming period.

For her part, Blatmann told Sudan Tribune they would also visit Zalingei, Golo and Nyala, saying they would meet with the UNAMID, non-governmental organizations as well as visiting the University of El Fasher.

She stressed France keenness to achieve stability in Darfur, saying they would join efforts with the international community to resolve the Sudanese crises.

Blatmann pointed to France support for the mediation efforts of the African Union which seek to achieve peace in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile on the bases of the Roadmap Agreement.

“The goal of our visit is to promote bilateral cooperation in all domains especially human, cultural and academic development,” she said.

The Sudanese army has been fighting the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) rebels in Blue Nile and South Kordofan, also known as “Two Areas” since 2011 and a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003.

The government and Sudan Call forces (the armed groups and the National Umma Party) signed in March and August 2016 the Roadmap Agreement brokered by the African Union including several steps towards their participation in a national constitutional process inside Sudan.

However, the parties failed to sign a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian agreements that are seen crucial before to move forward in the roadmap implementation process.

(ST)