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Leaked Audio: Sudan’s Bashir warns of hard days to come

Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir speaks, during a meeting of the NCP Shura Council in Khartoum on October 21, 2016 (ST Photo)

November 4, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s President Omer al-Bashir has warned the members of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of hard days to come due to the planned government policies to liberalize the prices of commodities and scrapping subsidies, according to a leaked audio recording.

Social media users have widely shared a leaked audio for al-Bashir speech before the NCP Shura Council members last week.

On Thursday, Sudanese government scrapped fuel subsidies and increased electricity price in a bid to stop the surge in inflation and control the collapse of Sudanese pound in the black market.

“Sudan would face hard times in the coming period due to scrapping commodities subsidies that would lead to commodities prices hiking,” said al-Bashir, while the members of the ruling party consultation meeting heard chanting slogans.

Al-Bashir pointed that scrapping commodities subsidies is an economic necessity and a beginning to implement the reform process.

Security forces were deployed in Khartoum streets on Friday the first day after of fuel prices increase, to control any protests against the unpopular austerity measures.

In September 2013 following the government’s decision to lift fuel subsidies, demonstrations broke out in several Sudanese states. Rights groups said that at least 200 people were killed but the government put the death toll at 85.

Al-Bashir, nonetheless, pointed that the government’s priority is to protect low- and moderate-income households from the negative effects of this new austerity plan.

“The new economic measures should not affect poor people,” said al-Bashir pointing that they would receive direct subsidies from the Zakat House which provides social aid to needy families.

He pointed that people with moderate-income need support, noting that he has assigned the National Council of Wages to study the minimum salary needed to cover basic needs. He further pledged to increase salaries according to government revenues.

Commenting on the economic embargo on Sudan, al-Bashir pointed that sanctions were imposed because Sudan “sticks to its principles”. “We refuse to subject to U.S polices,” he said.

Al-Bashir went to say that his government has refused deploying U.S forces in the region.

“We were sure of the (negative) impacts of deploying U.S forces in the area as it is seen today in Iraq, Syria and Libya,” said al-Bashir, adding that Sudan has previously warned of a "Zionist and Shiite project to divide the region".

“Iran was removed from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism while the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are still considered as terrorist organization,” he said.

Al-Bashir said that his government has urged to lift sanctions on Sudan since fifteen years ago because it has no link to terrorism.

"The CIA has confirmed in its reports that Sudan does not support terrorism or harbor terrorists but despite all they keep the Sudan on the list of states sponsoring terrorism," he added.

(ST)