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Riyadh making efforts to achieve full lift of U.S. sanctions on Sudan:envoy

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May 20, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Saudi ambassador to Khartoum Ali bin Hassan Jaafar has revealed efforts by his country to achieve a permanent lift of U.S. sanctions imposed on Sudan in June.

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The US imposed comprehensive sanctions on Sudan in 1997 (US Embassy in Khartoum website)

Last January, former President Barack Obama 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.

Washington is involved in a five-track engagement process with the Sudan over the permanent lift of sanctions on Sudan. Several agencies, including the State Department, have to present to President Donald Trump next June their findings and recommendations over the fate of the sanctions.

In an interview with the Blue Nile TV, Jaafar said Saudi Arabia played a significant role in the ease of U.S. sanctions imposed on Sudan, adding the Kingdom is “leading efforts to achieve full lift of sanctions next July.”

He praised Sudan’s support of Arab and Islamic issues, saying “the Saudi government and peoples appreciate President al-Bashir’s strong statements in which he considered the security of Saudi Arabia and the two holy mosques a red line.”

The Saudi envoy said the economic relations between the two countries would witness an unprecedented boost, hailing measures taken by the Sudanese government to promote Saudi investments.

“I am optimistic that the economic relations between Khartoum and Riyadh will grow so that citizens of both nations could feel the outcome of the integration of relations between the two countries," he added.

The Saudi diplomat’s remarks coincides with a rare visit by the U.S. President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia where he received a warm welcome amid preparations for an Arab-Muslim summit attended by 37 Arab leaders.

The Sudanese president didn’t take part in the summit despite being invited by the Saudi government after Washington expressed displeasure with his presence at the summit and urged the host country to not invite him.

Khartoum has emerged as a close ally of the Gulf States in the last two years. Sudan participates with over 850 troops in the Saudi-led “Decisive Storm” coalition against the Iranian-allied Houthi militants in Yemen.

In February 2016, the Sudanese army participated in a regional military exercise including Saudi and Gulf armies, Egypt, Jordanian, Pakistani, and Sudanese armies.

Also, last March, Sudanese and Saudi air forces conducted joint military exercises in northern Sudan.

Saudi Arabia has the largest Arabic investments in Sudan which reached $15 billion in 2016. Some 196 investors from Saudi Arabia are active in producing fodder, wheat and sorghum, which are exported to Saudi Arabia.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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