Minister Featherstone met representatives of the Sudanese government, including the Under-secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Tigani al-Sissi, head of the Darfur Regional Authority and Hamad Ismail Hamad, Governor of South Darfur, and visited a number of UK-supported programmes in Darfur.
At a press conference at the British Embassy, the Minister said:
“The UK has a long-standing relationship with the Sudanese people. Alongside the Government of Sudan, our focus here in Sudan is helping to eliminate poverty and to reduce conflict. We are ready to play a constructive role, and recommit our efforts for building peace and development in Sudan.”
Minister Featherstone also visited UK-funded programmes during a two day visit to Darfur. These programmes include resilience programmes, provision of water and sanitation and support to the police and justice sectors.
During a visit to the ‘Safety and Access to Justice Programme’ which focuses on community policing, one police officer told the delegation:
“Now we understand that the peace and security of the community is the responsibility of everyone in the community. We used to think it was the responsibility of individual police officers but now we know we all share in that responsibility. Things like this course helped build partnerships between the police and the community. Now, we are one strong team. What affects them, affects us.”
The UK Department of International Development (DFID) programmes in Sudan aim by 2015 to have provided 800,000 people with access to clean drinking water sources, and 800,000 people with greater control over their own development.
Concluding the press conference, the Minister said:
“I have seen the impact that our programmes have on people’s lives. We continue to be committed to Sudan. Courage is needed by the Government of Sudan to tackle human rights violations, corruption, and to secure an inclusive political settlement to current conflicts and disputes. We want to continue supporting Sudanese people and institutions both politically and financially so they may build a more stable and prosperous country which embraces its impressive diversity.”