Secretary General of the council, Ahmed Abd Al-Rahmean Mohamed
Many Sudanese may only know Norway as part of the troika that supervised the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA). However, relations go much further back, as Kjemprud pointed out in his speech.
Academic cooperation started as early as 1960 and the second largest collections of books on Sudan in the world, can be found at the University of Bergen in Norway.
- Norway has also had a substantial humanitarian presence in Sudan with several national non-governmental organisations operating here, Kjemprud said.
Last year, in 2010, Sudan also received about 120 millions USD in aid and development from Norway. And business and trade is developing between the countries.
Norway's role in the CPA cannot, however, be ignored and has inevitably shaped Norwegian-Sudanese relations. With the US and the UK, Norway has been committed to seeing the agreement being carried out and in a peaceful manner.
- Norway wants to see two viable states after 9 July and we are therefore following a two-tiered approach, focusing on contineud economic growth in the north and capacity building in the south, the ambassador said.
The speech was followed by several rounds of quesitons. Some were relatively easy to address, some were more tricky. One topic was the perceived Norwegian bias towards the south.
- At the initial stage, there was truly a specific focus on the south. The bias was real, but has changed. Today, Norwegian politicians are very aware and clear about the fact that north and south are interlinked and work equally with both, Kjemprud said.
The Council for International People's Friendship was established in 1960 and aims to be a forum for fostering the ties of friendship and cooperation between the Sudanese people and the international community at large .