UK all-party parliamentary delegation begins five-day visit to Sudan, Darfur
A delegation of UK parliamentarians representing the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sudan & South Sudan, who arrived in Khartoum on Sunday for a five-day visit to Sudan and Darfur, have met with the heads of Sudan’s parliamentary subcommittees in Omdurman on Monday.
The UK parliamentary delegation is led by David Drew, Labour MP for Stroud, Vice-Chair, APPG Sudan and South Sudan, Liz McInnes, Labour MP for Heywood and Middleton, Shadow Foreign Minister, responsible for East Africa, James Duddridge, Conservative PM for Rochford and Southend, former Minister for Africa, and Baroness Sheehan, Liberal Democrat Member of the House of Lords and International Development spokesperson.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sudan & South Sudan* is a cross-party group of UK parliamentarians raising issues of peace, social justice, and human rights in both countries.
The delegation will spend three days in Khartoum and one day in Darfur.
The head of the Europe Subcommittee of Sudan’s National Assembly Committee on External Relations and International Cooperation, Hayat Abdulrahim, said in a statement via the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) that all arrangements for the visit have been finalised.
Abdulrahim confirmed that the British parliamentary group will meet with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Ibrahim Ahmed Omer, heads of the Assembly’s committees, Sudanese businessmen, and opposition parties.
They will also visit to camps for the displaced in North Darfur and holding meetings with officials of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (Unamid).
Abdulrahim added that the group will meet with members of the National Dialogue’s Coordinating Committee and Assistant to the President, Dr Faisal Hassan Ibrahim.
SUNA confirms that the UK Parliamentarians met with the Heads of committees and the Chairman of Sudan’s National Assembly at the Houses of Parliament in Omdurman today.
The Sudanese delegation was headed by Gen Hadi Adam Hamed, head of the Security and Defence Committee of the National Council.
The Head of the Legislative, Justice and Human Rights Committee Osman Nimer said: “the British delegation was briefed on the great efforts exerted by Sudan in the fight against terrorism and illegal immigration and hosting the refugees.”
He added that the Sudanese delegation explained to the UK parliamentarians the negative impacts of economic sanctions on Sudan.
Nimer expressed the desire of the Sudan to establish strong relations and economic partnership with the United Kingdom.
Last month a delegation from the United Kingdom led by the British Minister of State for Africa, Harriett Baldwin, visited North Darfur and held talks with the state government in El Fasher. They also visited Abu Shouk camp for the displaced.
The British official said that the purpose of the visit is to see the overall security and humanitarian situation in the state, in addition to coordination with the state government in facilitating the provision of assistance and services to the returnees to their villages of origin, as well as building strong partnership between the Sudanese government and the United Kingdom in all aspects.
The stated aim of her visit to Darfur was “to emphasise the UK's calls for an end to ongoing conflict in the area”.
According to Maddy Crowther of Waging Peace, an organiser of the protest, 400 people turned out on 30 June to walk peacefully from the Sudanese Embassy to the official residence of the British Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street in London. Other organisations involved were the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART) and Stand UK.
The protest was held in light of the “strategic dialogue” which has opened up between the UK and the Sudanese government.
El Mahdi called on the United Kingdom to support an international conference to address the Sudanese crisis through the effective implementation of the road map and stressed that peace, democracy and justice are necessary for stability. El Mahdi also met with representatives of the British All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sudan and South Sudan on a separate visit to London in March this year.
Last year, the Group published a report on UK-Sudan relations, calling for human rights to be prioritised by the UK government. The report argued that the UK government was in danger of losing its reputation as a human rights standard-bearer due to competing concerns of tackling irregular migration and extremism in the region.
* The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sudan and South Sudan is a political campaigning group promoting the cause of peace, human rights, justice and development for the people of Sudan and South Sudan across Westminster and Whitehall. The Group was formed in 1998 in response to concerns raised by Sudanese diaspora groups about the political, economic and social situation in their country and as a result of the desire of UK Parliamentarians to highlight this situation. Based in Westminster, the group has established a growing membership of over 100 British MPs and Peers across political parties. Since its inception the Group has acted as the key forum in Parliament for actively debating and highlighting key issues on Sudan and South Sudan.
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