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Saudi Arabia denies providing financial aid to Sudan

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April 14, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Saudi ambassador in Sudan Faisal bin Hamed al-Mualla has denied his country provided any cash assistance to Khartoum, saying it would focus instead on expanding agricultural investments to meet the needs of the two countries.

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Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir (L) walking with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdel Aziz in Riyadh on 25 March 2015 (SPA)

Over the past few weeks, there were reports that Riyadh deposited $4 billion in Sudan’s central bank in an apparent reward to Khartoum’s position regarding Yemen.

This had helped to briefly boost the position of the Sudanese pound relative to the US dollars in the black market.

Officials in Khartoum are now optimistic that the country will see an easing of its economic difficulties with Arab Gulf states now more willing to help after Sudan shifted its political alliance away from Iran.

In a roundtable meeting with media corps on Tuesday, al-Mualla hailed Sudan’s participation in Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen against Iran-backed Houthi rebels which started on the day president Omer Hassan al-Bashir visited Riyadh.

He said that Saudi-Sudanese joint ministerial committee will hold a meeting in Khartoum next month and called for drafting a strategy for work between the two countries.

The envoy confirmed that King Salman Bin Abdulaziz will visit Sudan at a date to be determined later.

He stressed that Saudi Arabia has started implementing the Arab food security initiative of late King Abdullah in several countries and plans to do so in Sudan.

The ambassador also denied that any formal decisions were made in the past to suspend banking transactions between the two countries.

Last week, president Omer Hassan al-Bashir announced that orders were issued by Riyadh to all Saudi banks to resume their dealings with Sudan which were quietly suspended more than a year ago.

Sudanese officials had attributed the move to pressure by the United States which has economic sanctions imposed on the East African nation since 1997.

But banking sources argued that politics was not a factor and that these banks were simply seeking to hedge the risk of being found in violation of US sanctions and incurring hefty fines as a result.

(ST)

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