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Sudan, Turkey agree to increase trade exchange to $1 billion

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and President Omer al-Bashir, exchange cooperation agreement between the two countries in Khartoum on 24 Dec 2017 (SUNA Photo)

December 24, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir and visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday have agreed to raise trade exchange between the two countries to $1 billion within one year.

Erdogan, accompanied by a large delegation, has arrived in Khartoum on Sunday on a two-day official visit. He was received by al-Bashir at the airport amid remarkable official attention.

The two presidents on Sunday afternoon presided over the joint session of talks between the two sides in the presence of the relevant ministers at the Presidential Palace in Khartoum.

The two sides discussed bilateral relations and ways to enhance cooperation as well as issues of common concern.

At the end of the talks, the two sides signed 12 cooperation agreements and agreed to launch a strategic partnership covering agriculture, industry, minerals and health.

They also approved the establishment of a higher political committee headed by the two presidents, saying the committee would annually meet in Khartoum and Ankara alternately.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, al-Bashir described Erdogan’s visit as “historic”, saying it shows keenness of the Turkish President to build special relations with Sudan.

He said the visit marks a great leap in relations and a new beginning of strong ties between the two countries, praising Erdogan’s stances in support of Jerusalim and the Islamic nation.

For his part, Erdogan announced his country’s intention to raise the volume of trade exchange with Sudan to $1 billion within a year to reach $10 billion in the future.

He said the current level of trade exchange which is estimated at $500 million “doesn’t commensurate with both countries” especially given the large population in Sudan and Turkey.

The Turkish President hailed Sudan’s stance against the failed coup in Turkey in July 2016, saying “we wouldn’t forget the solidarity you have shown in this regard”.

He further pledged to encourage the Turkish businessmen to invest in Sudan.

During the visit, the Turkish President, who chairs the Islamic Cooperation Conference, will visit several Ottoman historical sites in eastern Sudan town of Suakin which was an important port for trade for centuries.

Also, he will visit Port Sudan town, the country main port on the Red Sea to attend the signing of a free trade area agreement.

It is noteworthy that the delegation accompanying Erdogan includes Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz, Agriculture Minister Ahmet Esref Fakibaba, Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, Culture and Tourism Minister Numan Kurtulmus, Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli, Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar besides 150 Turkish businessmen.

In 2014 Sudan and Turkey signed an agricultural partnership which includes the allocation of a plot of 12500 hectares in Abu Gutah area.

According to a report issued by the Sudanese Ministry of Investment, the volume of Turkish investments in Sudan amounted to 2 billion dollars from 2000 to 2017. It further indicates that there are 288 Turkish investment projects in the east African country.

ADDRESSING NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

On Sunday evening, Erdogan addressed the Sudanese Parliament where he announced full cooperation with Sudan in the military, energy, health and agriculture domains.

He also vowed to support Sudan in all international forums, pledging to continue support for the Palestinian cause and rejection for the United States decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel.

Erdogan urged President Donald Trump to reverse his decision saying the voting of 128 nations at the UN General Assembly against the decision underscores the correctness of the Muslims stance.

He expected the countries which have abstained would soon join the nations who voted against the decision, saying the former’s stance was driven by temporary fear of the U.S. reaction.

(ST)

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