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The French Foreign Minister H.E. Dominique de Villepin ended a two day visit to Sudan, the first of its kind in more than two decades by a prominent French official. During his visit, which is hailed as a historic one, H.E. de Villepin held official talks with his Sudanese counterpart Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail and other top brass officials and had an audience with H.E. President Omar Hassan Ahmed Albashir.

The Sudanese and French sides at those meetings discussed bilateral matters as well as issues of mutual concern on which they shared identical views and positions and expressed their satisfaction and appreciation for the progress made in relations in various fields. The Sudanese side briefed the French Minister about the developments in the on-going peace process between the government of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) in Kenya aimed at establishing durable peace in the country, and the recent announcement made by H.E. Omar Albashir regarding peace and development in Greater Darfur Region. H.E. de Villepin took note of these developments and commended the efforts of the government of Sudan to realize lasting peace in the country and expressed the support of his government and country for the peace talks as well as the proposed conference on peace and development announced by President Albashir in Darfur. He also extended economic assistance and support for rehabilitation of people and the war affected areas of Sudan. He assured that France will increase the investments and expand ties with Sudan.

Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sudan expressed sincere thanks and appreciation to France for their support to Sudan in the international forums and for the cordial relations which so happily exist between the two countries and the assured economic support. He pointed out that this visit has given an added impetus to the traditionally friendly Sudanese - France relations, and raised the ties to a qualitatively new level of interaction.

It is expected within the influx of major western companies to the Sudan, many French companies, including TOTAL are expected to invest in Sudan.

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