The French special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Mr. Stéphane Gruenberg, visited Sudan from February 25th to March 1st, for the first time his appointment. He met with Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, several Sudanese officials, ambassadors, UNAMID officials, as well as Sudanese opposition and civil society members.
The appointment of a special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, in the manner of the European Union, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States, constitutes a new expression of interest from France to Sudan, and an appreciation of its importance in the area, where France is present and has significant interests.
Indeed, we have taken a significant responsibility in favor of the stabilization of the Sahel region, particularly through the « Barkhane » operation, at the request of the countries of this area neighboring Sudan. We are also committed to the stability of the Central African Republic, participate in the UN mediation efforts in Libya and share the same preoccupation with the states of the region regarding the threat of terrorism. All these reasons, in addition to the ancient and extensive cooperation that we enjoy with the Sudanese society, indicate the attachment of France to Sudan’s stability and to the political and security dialogue with Khartoum.
From this perspective, France, along with its European and Troika partners, wishes to play a greater role in the international efforts aimed at facilitating, supporting and accompanying the resolution of the Sudanese crises in Darfur and the two areas, in particular the mediation efforts of the African High-Level Panel led by the former South African President, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, as well as the efforts of the UNAMID Joint Chief Mediator and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Sudans.
France’s position on this issue is clear and consistent : it encourages all the Sudanese political actors to invest in a political, peaceful, and negotiated solution, which is the only sustainable solution to Sudan’s crises. In this respect, it does not enjoy a preferential relationship with any of the Sudanese political actors. Concerning Abdelwahid Nour, it does not provide him any particular support and strongly encourages him to implement the African Union Roadmap.
This is the message that France had already delivered to its Sudanese interlocutors during the bilateral consultations in early February, which allowed us to strengthen all aspects of the Franco-Sudanese relationship.