Federica Mogherini High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission met with Ibrahim Ghandour, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Sudan, in Brussels. The meeting took place following the HR/VP's invitation to her Sudanese counterpart to visit Brussels.
Both agreed to strengthen EU - Sudan relations in areas of shared interest. In this respect, Minister Ghandour also met EU Commissioner Avramopoulos, in charge of Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship, and is due to meet Commissioner for Humanitarian aid and crisis management, Christos Stylianides, tomorrow.
This visit was a first step to set the direction for future EU - Sudan cooperation on issues of common concern such as domestic peace, regional security, migration, and counterterrorism.
HR/VP Mogherini and Sudanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Ghandour discussed the importance of resolving internal issues, end conflicts and have an inclusive national dialogue. Ongoing conflicts in Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur and recurrent violations of international human rights and humanitarian law remain a concern for the EU.
The situation in the Horn of Africa, in Libya and the wider Red Sea region was also on the agenda. HR/VP Mogherini acknowledged Sudan's role and strategic location in the wider Horn of Africa region at the cross road between the Horn, North Africa, East Africa and Sahel. The EU will continue to encourage Sudan's constructive efforts in terms of peace and security in the wider region.
The issue of migration was discussed both with the HR/VP Mogherini and then, more specifically, with Commissioner Avramopoulos, in the context of the Valletta Action Plan adopted on 12 November 2015 at the Migration Summit. Sudan expressed readiness to tackle irregular migration, notably in fighting human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, to cooperate on return and readmission and to increase Sudan's capacity to host refugees and to reduce onwards movement to Europe. A follow up mission from the EU will be fielded shortly to Khartoum.
The EU announced its intention to strengthen development cooperation with Sudan at various levels. Both welcomed the fact that the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Stability and Addressing Root Causes of Irregular Migration and Displaced Persons in Africa had already started identifying projects in Sudan. While the EU is preparing a €100 million package for Sudan under the Trust Fund and is ready to further support any concrete efforts to tackle migration. The EU will also continue to provide humanitarian assistance to people in need, victims of conflict or natural disasters in Sudan. It was underlined that the lack of timely access to the population in need remains a challenge for donors and implementing partners.