After two days of discussions covering a wide range of issues, the UK-Sudan strategic dialogue concluded on Monday, 21 March 2016. The strategic dialogue was led for the UK by the Africa Director of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Neil Wigan, who is in Khartoum from 20-22 March. Mr Wigan met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, HE Professor Ibrahim Ghandour, and other Sudanese officials from relevant departments. His meetings covered a range of issues including UK-Sudan bilateral relations, ending conflict, migration, extremism, humanitarian and development assistance, human rights and the situation in the region.
At the conclusion of his meetings, Mr Wigan said:
I am very pleased to be in Khartoum for the inaugural UK-Sudan strategic dialogue. After two days of frank and constructive exchanges I am confident that our bilateral relations have a positive future. We agreed on the need to progress cooperation in areas of mutual interest while increasing dialogue in those areas where we do not always see eye to eye. Topics like extremism, the peace processes, the conflicts and human rights are important. They require high-level engagement and direct channels of communication. Further, issues like migration and trafficking are regional in nature and must be tackled together, in partnership with neighbouring countries. This week’s discussions have been an important first step. I look forward to the next round.
Last night I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend the final of Mashrouy, a competition that aims to spread the idea of entrepreneurship in Sudan. Youth are the future of any country. The energy and creativity I observed yesterday give me hope that Sudan’s future can be a bright one.
The British Ambassador, Michael Aron, added:
The people of the UK and Sudan have a long history of close relations. It’s my desire that this is also reflected in the relationship between our governments. Last year the Government of Sudan suggested that we institute a regular dialogue to further strengthen ties. Since then we have been working towards these meetings. This week’s talks have been important but are very much part of an ongoing dialogue between our two countries which I look forward to continuing.
The FCO Africa Director Neil Wigan is visiting Khartoum on 20-22 March for a strategic dialogue requested by the Government of Sudan last year. A further round of talks are expected to take place within the next year.