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China’s Vice-Premier arrives in Khartoum to discuss debt settlement

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Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli received by Sudanese First Vice President Bakri Hassan Salih at Khartoum airport on 25 August , 2017 (ST photo)
August 25, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Chinese Vice-Premier of the State Council Zhang Gaoli has arrived in Khartoum on Friday in a two-day visit to hold bilateral talks on a number of issues particularly China’s debt on Sudan.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Sudan’s external debt has reached $51 billion. China’s debt on Sudan is estimated at more $10 billion.

Sudan has failed to repay its debts despite being given two long grace periods by China. However, last March Khartoum vowed to settle its entire debt, saying every “single penny” of Beijing’s money would be paid off.

The Chinese senior official and his accompanying delegation were received at Khartoum airport by First Vice-President and Prime Minister Bakri Hassan Salih and a number of ministers.

In press statements at the airport, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour described the visit as “historic and important”, saying it comes within the framework of the strategic partnership signed between the two countries in 2015.

He said the two sides will hold official talks on Friday at the Republican Palace, pointing out that a number of framework agreements would be signed after the talks.

Ghandour added that Gaoli will meet President Omer al-Bashir on Friday evening at the guest house.

Sudan hopes to attract new Chinese investments after Beijing had refrained from implementing a number of projects agreed upon with Khartoum following the latter’s failure to settle its debts.

China has been Sudan’s largest foreign investor, particularly in oil and telecommunications after western firms shunned the East African nation due to conflicts and sanctions.

It has invested more than $20 billion in Sudan mostly in the oil sector during the past two decades. Beijing provides low-interest loans and weapons transfers in return for oil.

(ST)

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