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Egypt Calls for Removing Sudan from US Terror List

Egypt Calls for Removing Sudan from US Terror List

Monday, 9 September, 2019 - 09:00
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. (Reuters)

Egypt called on Monday for removing Sudan off the US list of countries sponsoring terrorism.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry had arrived in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, to begin what Cairo hailed as a "new start" in relations as Sudan embarks on a transition to civilian rule.

The US named Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993. In one of its last acts, the Obama administration began a formal process to de-list Sudan, but this was put on hold when mass protests erupted in December against President Omar al-Bashir's three-decade rule.

Shoukry said Egypt is now working with Washington to end Sudan's international pariah status.

The country has a newly installed government under a power sharing agreement between the pro-democracy movement and the military, which ousted Bashir in April and many feared would cling onto power.

"What the Sudanese people have achieved is a role model," Shoukry told a joint news conference at the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, with the country's first woman foreign minister, Asmaa Abdalla.

He said Egypt has been working with regional and Western allies to build support for the transitional government and that efforts "to coordinate strongly with the Sudanese government will continue."

Shoukry was the first foreign official to visit Sudan after its new cabinet was sworn in Sunday.

He also met with General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of the sovereign council, and the new prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok.

Sudan says that removing it from the US list of countries sponsoring terrorism is crucial to rebuilding the country and readmitting it into the international economy after years of sanctions.

Hamdok said last week that he had already held a "long discussion" with the Trump administration on the matter.

He also told a local TV station in August that Sudan needs up to $8 billion in foreign aid in the next two years and another $2 billion deposited as reserves to shore up the plunging local currency.

Previously ties between the neighbors had often been strained over the years due to trade and border disputes, although efforts have been taken by both to address the concerns.

Sudan in May 2017 banned the import of animal and other agricultural products from its northern neighbor.

Ties between the neighbors improved after Sudan lifted the ban in October 2017 following talks in Khartoum between Bashir and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Sisi and other Egyptian officials had regularly called for stability in Sudan after protests erupted against Bashir in December.

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