Britain supports Sudan’s removal from terrorism list

Britain has pledged to support Sudan’s removal from US list of state sponsors of terrorism, at the end of the fifth meeting of the UK-Sudan Strategic Dialogue held in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.

The bi-annual meetings covered bilateral issues, Sudan’s peace process, human rights, development, trade and investment, migration, defence, counter-terrorism, and regional issues including South Sudan.

Neil Wigan, British Foreign Office’s Director for Africa, said the two sides discussed “a number of important military, security, economic and human rights issues”.

The two sides have agreed to complement joint action in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

According to the British official, his country would confirm to the United States, Sudan’s cooperation in the fight against terrorism, and support efforts to remove it from the terror list.

Khartoum and Washington said they would resume soon discussions over the normalization of bilateral relations and Sudan’s removal from the list.

While Khartoum maintained it is committed to the engagement framework agreed in December 2016, Washington pointed to the need to improve human rights records and to ensure freedoms particularly religious freedom.

The issue of peace remains on the negotiating table, but US officials were inclined to put it aside blaming armed groups also for the continuation of the conflict in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states and Darfur region.

The United Kingdom, the United States and Norway are members of the Troika which facilitate the African Union-led process to end armed conflicts in Sudan.

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry Undersecretary, Abdel Ghani al-Naim, who co-chaired the Strategic Dialogue meetings, said the fifth session covered many aspects, especially military, security, and economic topics. The atmosphere of the fifth meeting was very positive and the parties reached “tangible results”.

The joint statement released at the end of the meetings hailed Khartoum’s continued commitment to the unilateral cessation of hostilities in the conflict areas and the establishment of a temporary operating UNAMID base in Golo.

On human rights, the two countries agreed to continue dialogue between the two governments and that Sudan continues to uphold its commitments to international treaties and to cooperate with the (international) human rights mechanisms. In this regard, the meeting also welcomed Sudan’s adherence to some other instruments and related conventions.

Both sides expressed concern about the continuation of the armed conflict in South Sudan, and the UK welcomed Sudan’s continued support to the UN efforts to deliver food to the affected South Sudanese through maintaining open humanitarian river and road corridors and hosting refugees fleeing from South Sudan.