Saudi calls on US to remove Sudan from 'terror list'

AFP , Wednesday 22 Jan 2020

Sudanese demonstrators make victory signs and wave Sudanese flags as they protest in front of the Defence Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan April 17, 2019. REUTERS

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday called on the United States to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, in a meeting with a visiting envoy.

The US last month lifted fast-changing Sudan from a blacklist for religious freedom violations, but Khartoum awaits the bigger prize of removal from the terror list.

The designation has severely impeded investment in the country, which is emerging from decades of military rule and conflict.

Saudi media said the kingdom's state minister for African affairs, Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Kattan, met in Riyadh with the US envoy to Sudan, Donald Booth, and "stressed to Washington the necessity of lifting Sudan from the terrorism list".

According to state broadcaster Al-Ekhbaria, the minister emphasised "Saudi Arabia's support for Sudan's security and stability".

Washington has included Khartoum on its list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1993 on charges of collaborating with Islamic extremist groups, notably Al-Qaeda.

In 2017, the United States lifted trade sanctions imposed on Sudan a decade before but kept Khartoum on its terrorism blacklist alongside Iran, North Korea and Syria.

Last October, Saudi Arabia's King Salman met with Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in Riyadh to discuss the lifting of the US measures.

Sudan has sided with Riyadh against Shiite Iran and provided troops to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen's war against Tehran-backed Huthi rebels.

Sudan's long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was pushed out by the military during months-long protests last year.

After his downfall, Saudi Arabia and the UAE promised to inject $500 million into Sudan's central bank and $2.5 billion to help provide food, medicine and petroleum products.

They did not specify if the money was a gift or a loan.

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