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Sudan’s finance minister discusses debt relief in Washington

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April 22, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government Saturday has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) to help in cancelling Khartoum’s foreign debt according to the international initiatives.

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Sudanese finance minister Badr al-Din Mahmoud

According to latest IMF reports, Sudan’s external debt stood at approximately $51 billion in 2016 from $39.5 billion in 2010.

Sudan’s Finance Minister Badr al-Din Mahmoud and the governor of the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) have discussed with the IMF, WB and UK International Financial Cooperation Agency executive directors Sudan’s foreign debt on the sidelines of the spring meetings in Washington.

The official news agency SUNA reported that Mahmoud has briefed the IMF and WB officials on the situation in Sudan, asking for their support to cancel Khartoum’s external debt.

According to SUNA, the IMF and WB officials pointed that Sudan has exerted considerable efforts to meet the technical requirements for the debt cancellation, demanding Khartoum to continue to cooperate with the two institutions.

Also, the executive director of the UK International Financial Cooperation Agency urged Sudan to approve the poverty reduction strategy and to continue to cooperate in the fight against terrorism.

Since several years, Khartoum continued to urge the international financial institutions and the international community alike to apply only technical requirements to offer debt relief to Sudan away from the political agenda saying it has met the requirements to benefit from Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.

However, IMF’s deputy director of the Middle East and Central Asia department, Edward Gemayel, said during a visit to Khartoum in 2013 that it will be near impossible for Sudan to secure debt relief even if it satisfied technical and economic requirements because it is linked to political issues which require a public relations effort with member countries.

Sudan’s relations with the Western nations have recently witnessed some improvements following decades of tensions.

Last January, Washington eased the 19-year economic and trade sanctions on Sudan. The decision came as a response to the collaboration of the Sudanese government on various issues including the fight against terrorism.

Also, the joint cooperation between Sudan and a number of European countries including France, United Kingdom and Germany has recently increased on issues of terrorism, illegal migration, human trafficking and cross-border crimes.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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