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Sudan due to host Saudi delegation for talks on agricultural investments

April 18, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – A high-level technical delegation from Saudi Arabia is set to arrive in Khartoum on Sunday to follow up on the outcome of a previous visit by Saudi minister of agriculture to push for investments in the country, an official here said today.

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Sudan’s investment minister, Mustafa Osman Ismail, speaks at a news conference in Doha on 8 April 2013 (Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Sudanese-Saudi relations have witnessed a thaw in recent months after years of tensions over Khartoum’s close ties with Tehran that saw Iranian warships dock several times in Port Sudan.

Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir paid a one-day state visit to Saudi Arabia last month in which he met with King Salman Bin Abdel Aziz and his son Mohamed who is the kingdom’s defence minister.

It was announced afterwards that Sudan will join the Saudi-led military campaign against Yemeni Houthi rebels allied with Iran who have taken control of Yemeni capital since September 2014.

The Sudanese minister of investment Mustafa Osman Ismail said in statements to government-sponsored Sudanese Media Center website (SMC) that the Saudi delegation will review what was agreed upon and supplement other outstanding items.

He said that his ministry in conjunction with other government agencies has prepared a list of agricultural projects to present to the Saudi delegation.

Ismail urged private sector in the two countries to push economic relations forward to utilise resources in Sudan specially in the area of food security.

Journalists attending a private briefing by the Saudi ambassador in Khartoum his week said he told them that huge investments are going to be injected and that Khartoum must be prepared.

But the envoy denied reports that his country will provide a multi-billion dollar cash deposit in Sudan’s central bank saying that “this era [of cash assistance] is over”, journalists said.

Officials in Khartoum are now optimistic that the country will see an easing of its economic difficulties with Arab Gulf states now more willing to help after Sudan shifted its political alliance away from Iran.