March 17, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government on Monday denied reports that Saudi Arabia has stopped accepting its livestock exports, stressing that there has been no impediments of any kind.
- A cattleman walks with cows before they are slaughtered at an abattoir near Khartoum on 26 March 2011 (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
The Undersecretary at the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Kamal Sheikh Taj al-Sir said in press statements that the flow of meat and livestock exports to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and Kuwait have continued without any technical or procedural obstacles related to health, origin, financial transfers or transportation.
He stressed that livestock exports are made in accordance with the Bank of Sudan policies to ensure that revenues are remitted back home.
Taj al-Sir disclosed that a ship by the name of al-Marzouka recently left the Red Sea port of Sawakin carrying more than 9,000 heads of sheep and goats to Saudi Arabia.
"Our livestock exports reached 2,200,000 heads since 01/01/2014 till 03/16/2014 and this is a boom which adds a significant contribution to the national economy of the Sudan," he said.
The business community in Sudan has grown concerned that Saudi Arabia is starting a de facto economic embargo of the country following a revelation this month that a number of Saudi and European banks took a decision to stop dealing with Sudanese banks.
Sudanese officials attributed the move to pressure by the United States which has economic sanctions imposed on the East African nation since 1997.
There was no comment from Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) and it is not clear if the latter issued the directive or if it was decision by individual banks.
A Western diplomat told Agence France Presse (AFP) over the weekend that the move by the European banks appears to reflect an increasingly cautious attitude by financial institutions which do not want to risk being found in violation of US sanctions.
For Saudi Arabia, strained political relations over Sudan’s links to Iran could be a factor in the banks’ decision, the Western diplomat said.