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Syria approves credentials of new Sudanese ambassador

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May 12, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moallem on Tuesday received the credentials of Khaled Ahmad Ali who is the newly appointed Sudanese extraordinary ambassador to Damascus.

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FILE - Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir (L) and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad

Syria state news agency (SANA) said that Moallem wished the envoy success in his new post for the interests of joint brotherly relations.

Sudan had its ambassador post in Syria vacant since mid-2014 when the previous envoy Abdel-Basit Badawi al-Sanoosi left for Khartoum to assume a new role in the foreign ministry. The representation remained at the charge d’affaires level ever since.

Relations between the two countries have worsened after Sudan backed the 2011 Arab League decision suspending Syria’s membership in the Arab League over its brutal crackdown on protesters.

Sudan not only supported this resolution but convinced Mauritania and Somalia to back it, according to diplomats who spoke to Reuters at the time.

Syria’s conflict began as a peaceful protest movement calling for reforms in 2011 but descended into civil war after a government crackdown. In total, more than 200,000 people have been killed and millions more have fled their homes.

Syrian officials described Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir as an ingrate for not returning the favor of backing him in his row with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2008.

Bashir has adopted different stances on the Syrian conflict since it broke from initially calling it a conspiracy against Damascus to blasting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and most recently softening his stance by asserting that Assad has to be part of the political solution.

In 2013, U.S. officials told the New York Times (NYT) that Khartoum has been selling Chinese and local-made weapons to the Arab Gulf state of Qatar which in turn has been shipping it to rebels in Syria.

Saudi Arabia along with Turkey and Qatar are the most vocal in calling on al-Assad to step down and are believed to be aiding anti-Assad rebels. All these countries have also recalled their ambassadors to Syria and closed their embassies in Damascus.

Khartoum, however did not go as far as severing ties with Syria despite floating the possibility in 2011.

A Sudanese foreign ministry official speaking to Sudan Tribune said he does not expect the appointment of the new ambassador to affect the recent rapprochement with Arab Gulf states.

Saudi Arabia backs Assad’s mostly Sunni rebel foes. The Syrian leader, whose Alawite sect is derived from Shi’ite Islam, has support from Iran and the armed Lebanese Shi’ite movement Hezbollah. The Syrian leader denounces the insurgents as al Qaeda-linked groups backed by Sunni-ruled states.

(ST)

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