After more than a decade since their last meeting, South Korean and Sudanese diplomatic officials sat down for their fourth bilateral consultations in Seoul on Wednesday with the aim of forming two-way ties.
The last time the two nations held such bilateral talks was 11 years ago in 2003.
The Sudanese side was led by Abdel Mahmood Abdel Haleem, director general of bilateral and regional relations at the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the previous Sudanese ambassador to the United Nations. He had also completed long-awaited talks with France in Paris in mid-February.
“This is the fourth session of the Foreign Office Consultations between Sudan and Korea. Indeed, the fact that we are here in the historic city of Seoul for the fourth time reflects in no uncertain terms the commitment and determination of both countries to expand on their bilateral relations in all fields,” Abdel Haleem told The Korea Herald on Friday.
Abdel Haleem and his delegation arrived on March 2 and returned to Sudan Friday.
Abdel Haleem met Wednesday with his counterpart on the South Korean side, Kwon Hee-seog, director general of the Bureau for Africa and Middle East Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti is expected to visit Seoul as early as May for talks with his South Korean counterpart, and a number of cooperation agreements will be signed during the visit. In addition, a Sudan-Korea economic forum is planned for this year.
Sudan’s talks in France in February and the meeting in Seoul this month occurred shortly after multiple meetings between Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in October 2013, first on the sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, and then a one-on-one meeting in Washington, D.C., on the sidelines of a gathering of the Arab-American Chamber of Commerce.
Asked whether there was a link between improved ties with the U.S. and bilateral talks with France and South Korea, Abdel Haleem said: “Relations between countries are not necessarily affected by relations with a third country, but the improvement of the international situation would make conducive across the board all bilateral dealings.”