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Sudan seeking to resolve banking obstacles to exporting livestock to Saudi Arabia

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May 2, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - The National Agency for Financing and Export insurance said it expects to reach decisive solutions that are critical to the country’s exports of live cattle to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the current month of May.

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A cattleman walks with cows before they are slaughtered at an abattoir near Khartoum on 26 March 2011 (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

The deputy head of the agency Al-Hadi Ahmed Abdella told state media that these restrictions are imposed by the banks on wire transfers or demanding pre-payment or through a letter of guarantee for the value of the exports.

Abdellah called for accelerating these solutions close to the start of the export season to meet the needs of the holy month of Ramadan and the upcoming pilgrimage season.

He noted that Sudan contributes 50% of the needs of Saudi Arabian market which is estimated at 4 million heads annually.

"Due to the cessation of livestock exports to Saudi Arabia from Syria because of recent events, Sudan will be depended on to meet the needs of the Kingdom in this field," Abdella 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 last March 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) at the time 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.

(ST)

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