Ipswich: Lawyers Stephen Williams and Anthony Wooding to forge links with Sudan

TWO Suffolk solicitors are visiting Sudan to forge new links with counterparts in the African nation.

Stephen Williams of Ashton Graham and Anthony Wooding of Kerseys are representing the UK at a legal conference in the capital city, Khartoum.

As founder members of the newly-formed Anglo Sudan Lawyers Association, they will be giving presentations on alternative approaches to dispute resolution, the role of the judiciary and banking law.

Mr Williams said that Sudan, previously part of the British Empire, was keen to develop commercial links with the UK.

“While there is a ‘hands across the sea’ kind of element to this, there are also commercial considerations and a lot to be gained from working closely with this fast-developing part of the world. Both China and Malaysia are investing and building relationships and we believe the UK needs to be doing the same,” he said.

For both solicitors, the trip follows involvement in the Sudanese elections in April 2010 where both served as monitors, Mr Wooding in Malakal, in South Sudan, and Mr Williams in Ad Damazin, close to the Ethiopian border.

They were part of the UK Centre for Foreign Policy Analysis team, working alongside the United Nations, European Union, Arab League and US Ministry of State.

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“Sudan, which is the fifth largest country in the world in terms of land area, is now starting to address education, healthcare and international relations,” said Mr Wooding. “There are huge commercial opportunities and Sudan really welcomes British expertise and involvement.”

Following years of civil war, Sudan held a referendum earlier this year and will split into two separate parts – north and south – later this year.