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Joint Statement of India and Sudan at the end of Visit of H.E. Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail, Foreign Minister of Sudan

Dated: 06 June, 2005

The Foreign Minister of the Republic of Sudan, H.E. Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail paid an official visit to India from 6-8 June, 2005 at the invitation of Hon'ble Minister of External Affairs, Shri K. Natwar Singh. This is in keeping with the tradition of high level visits between the two countries including that of President Abdul Kalam to Sudan in October, 2003 and of the Sudanese Interior Minister H.E. Major General Engineer Abdulrahim Mohamed Hussein to India in January, 2005 in recent years.

During the current visit, H.E. Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail called on Hon'ble Prime Minister and handed over a written message from H.E. Mr. Omar Hassan Al Bashir, President of Sudan and was also received by Hon'ble External Affairs Minister Shri K. Natwar Singh on 7 June, 2005. He had wide-ranging discussions with Indian leaders on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. The Indian and Sudanese leaders underlined the need for urgent and meaningful reform of the UN and its organs, in particular the Security Council to reflect the needs and aspirations of the developing countries. In this context, the Sudanese Foreign Minister Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail reiterated Sudan's firm and consistent support for the early entry of India to permanent membership of the UN Security Council. The Minister elaborated on the African position reached at the Ministerial meeting in Swaziland on the question of the UN reform to which Sudan is committed.

India reiterated its support for the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Sudan. The Sudanese side appreciated that India had attended the historic signing ceremony of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) at Nairobi on 9th January, 2005 and also the Oslo Donors' Conference on Sudan, April 11-12, 2005 at the Ministerial level, and that India is contributing more than 3,000 of the 10,000 troops for the UN support Mission in South Sudan.

The Sudanese Foreign Minister briefed the Indian leaders on the internal situation in Darfur in detail. India reiterated its position that the situation in Darfur is an internal crisis that has to be resolved by the Government of Sudan in consultation with the AU. India appreciated the efforts of the Government of Sudan in consultation with the AU in bringing the situation to normalcy. India in response to the humanitarian crisis had given 20,000 tonnes of wheat. India was not in favour of sanctions which could be counter-productive.

India has made a significant investment in the oil sector in Sudan. Discussions in economy and trade covered enhanced bilateral cooperation in the hydrocarbon, power, small-scale industries, civil aviation, agriculture, infrastructure, IT, health care, pharmaceuticals and other development-related sectors. It was agreed to look at ways and means of strengthening the framework and expanding areas of cooperation. Dr. Ismail, and his delegation interacted intensely with Indian public and private sector organisations and companies dealing with major infrastructure, hydro-carbon, power, IT and other sectors as well as with business organizations, FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM. The next session of the Joint Commission at the level of Foreign Ministers will be convened in the later half of 2005.

The Indian and Sudanese leaders also discussed regional issues such as Palestine and Iraq. The Indian leaders briefed the Sudanese Foreign Minister on the various steps undertaken to improve India's multi-faceted relations with its neighbours. India's policy towards the Arab world including on the Palestine issue and with its neighbours was appreciated.

Both India and Sudan consider the visit of H.E. Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail, Foreign Minister of Sudan as another step in enhancing the cordial relationship between India and Sudan and engaging in regular and meaningful dialogue for mutual benefit.

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