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Sudan to shut down 13 diplomatic missions abroad

Sudan's Omer al-Bashir attends the swearing-in ceremony of Uganda's President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in Kampala, Uganda, May 12, 2016. (Reuters/Edward Echwalu=
May 3, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - President Omer al-Bashir decided to close 13 diplomatic mission in the world after the government’s failure to pay the salaries of its diplomats for more than seven months.

In a presidential decree released late on Wednesday night, al-Bashir directed to shut down 13 embassies et four consulates.

He also ordered to have only one diplomat with the rank of ambassador in each embassy except in four embassies.

The presidential decree further has provided the closure of all economic and commercial attachés offices or sections except for Abu Dhabi office which is preparing Sudan’s participation in the Expo 2020.

Finally, the president ordered to close press and media attachés sections in the Sudanese diplomatic missions with exception of three countries.

The shutdown of diplomatic missions is motivated by the need to reduce the huge economic cost generated by the expansion of diplomatic presence in Asia, and Africa within the government efforts to break international and regional isolation.

Last month President al-Bashir relieved his successful foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour because he publicly disclosed that Sudanese diplomats didn’t receive their salaries for seven months.

Since, the government started to pay the diplomats but still, it gave an idea of the financial crisis the government is facing.

The reduction of embassies is expected to be followed by the appointment of a new foreign minister ending the ongoing speculations in Khartoum.

In a speech delivered before the annual conference of Sudanese ambassadors on the first of March 2018, al-Bashir said the foreign policy would be defined by the National Council for Foreign Policy (NCFP) which he chairs.

At the time, observers underlined that Bashir spoke about “presidential diplomacy” to lead Sudan foreign policy, pointing to the power struggle between the foreign ministry and the presidency particularly a presidential aide tasked with relations with countries that have important economic investments in Sudan.

(ST)