A senior delegation from the United Kingdom have arrived in Sudan to begin the second phase of strategic dialogue with government officials, a press release from the British Embassy in Khartoum confirmed.
The embassy said the delegation will be headed by the Director for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Neil Wigan, who will co-chair the discussions with Sudan's Undersecretary at the Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Abdul-Ghani Al-Naeem.
Previously, Al-Naeem called on the international community to back the Government of Sudan's attempts to achieve peace in Darfur and the Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile areas. He called on Britain to urge the Sudan People's Liberation Movement North (SPLM/N) and the armed movements to join the political process and facilitate the access to the two areas by accepting a US Initiative to provide safe corridors for humanitarian aid.
Beside the ongoing conflicts, the discussions are expected to centre on a range of issues, including combatting human trafficking, humanitarian and development assistance. The delegation is also expected to visit Darfur to inspect the development projects funded by the UK government.
The talks are a culmination of strategic consultation meetings between the two countries that started this month and are the first talks at this level for 25 years. Khartoum and London are expected to increase cooperation on the economy, investment and culture.
Speaking, yesterday, at the International Khartoum Forum on Minerals, the British ambassador to Khartoum, Michael Aron, expressed hope that US sanctions against Sudan would be lifted.
This year will be the year for Sudan to join the international community after the partial lift of sanctions.
He reiterated that the UK welcomed the partial removal and hoped it would be fully lifted. Last January, former US President Barack Obama signed an executive order to suspend sanctions against Sudan enabling trade and investment transactions to resume.
Earlier this month, the World Bank's Country Director for Sudan, Carolyn Turk, said that Sudan could become a "rich country" after US sanctions were lifted. "This is a critical moment for Sudan's development efforts," said Turk.
"We at the World Bank look forward to supporting Sudan in seizing the opportunities that are now on the horizon," she added.
Washington is expected to review the situation on the 12 June in light of Sudan's commitment to political freedoms and its efforts to end the civil war raging on its border with South Sudan. A positive result could see the end of the sanctions imposed in 1997 and 2006. These could include the lifting of restrictions relating to the petroleum and petrochemical industry and could see the return of Sudan to the international banking system.