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China offers Sudan $160 million debt relief

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August 26, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Chinese government on Friday has announced debt relief for Sudan worth $160 million saying it would provide additional 500 million Yuan (about $75 million) in financial assistance to Khartoum.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, September 1, 2015. (Photo Reuters/Parker Song)

China’s debt on Sudan is estimated at more $10 billion.

During a visit to Khartoum on Friday, the Chinese Vice-Premier of the State Council Zhang Gaoli and his accompanying delegation held bilateral talks with the Sudanese side headed by the First Vice-President and Prime Minister Bakri Hassan Salih.

In his remarks before the meeting, Salih described cooperation between Khartoum and Beijing as “model” for bilateral relations, pointing to the strategic partnership agreement signed between the two countries in 2015.

He expressed appreciation for China’s stances towards Sudan, vowing to promote the strategic partnership to serve the interests of the two peoples.

For his part, Gaoli expressed his appreciation for Sudan’s efforts to strengthen economic partnership with his country, noting that the bilateral relations between Khartoum and Beijing have lasted more than 50 years.

Meanwhile, Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour has praised the political, economic and cultural ties between Sudan and China.

Speaking at a press conference following the joint meeting, Ghandour stressed Sudan’s support for the unity of the Chinese territory, pointing to Beijing’s support for Khartoum in regional and international forums.

He said the two sides agreed to form a higher committee to discuss the details of the economic relations, saying China is considered Sudan’s major partner in the oil industry.

Sudan’s top diplomat added the two sides signed a number of agreements and Memoranda of Understanding covering technical and economic cooperation, human resource development and training and the debt relief.

OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY

Meanwhile, Sudan’s Minister of Oil and Gas Abdel-Rahman Osman has discussed with the Vice President of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Zhang Jianhua ways to promote joint cooperation on oil industry between the two countries.

According to the official news agency SUNA, Jianhua expressed a desire to promote joint cooperation, saying they are ready to provide a new plan to invest in blocks A4 and B2.

He added the CNPC is ready to resolve issues pertaining to debt arrears and the adverse impact of South Sudan’s secession and the safety of Chinese workers.

Jianhua pointed out that his visit to Khartoum is the first visit to Africa, promising to visit Baleela oil field in western Sudan to inspect the oil production.

For his part, Osman praised join cooperation in oil and gas industry, saying China has invested more than $15 billion in the oil industry in Sudan.

He called on China to increase its oil investments in Sudan, vowing to remove all obstacles facing Chinese companies in this regard.

The Chinese oil giant began its business in Sudan in 1995.

Sudan lost 75% of its oil reserves after the southern part of the country became an independent nation in July 2011, denying the north billions of dollars in revenues. Oil revenue constituted more than half of the Sudan’s revenue and 90% of its exports.

Sudan currently produces 133,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd). The country’s production is stationed mainly in the Heglig area and its surroundings, as well as western Kordofan.

Following South Sudan’s secession, several foreign companies started exploration in new oil fields.

(ST)

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