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Senior Sudanese official dismissed over Gulf policy differences

Image of Senior Sudanese official, General Taha Osman Al Hussein on 24 April 2017 [Qatar Tribune/Facebook]
Image of Senior Sudanese official, General Taha Osman Al Hussein on 24 April 2017 [Qatar Tribune/Facebook]

Sudanese state presidential minister and Director of the President’s office was sacked yesterday and permitted to leave Sudan after a stand-off at Khartoum International Airport, the Sudan Tribune reported.

In a press statement, the official news agency SUNA confirmed that President Omar Al-Bashir had issued a decree relieving General Taha Osman Al Hussein of his duties and position with immediate effect and had replaced him with Hatim Hassan Bakeet.

The statement gave no details about the reasons for his dismissal but reliable sources speaking to MEMO say they believe the decision was linked to differences over Sudan’s decision to take a neutral stance in the dispute between the three Gulf countries and Qatar. It is believed Al-Hussein recommended that Sudan join the Gulf States in cutting ties with Qatar.

Read: Sudan appeals for calm between Qatar and Gulf

Last month, Al-Hussein represented Al-Bashir at the Arab-American Islamic Summit in Riyadh after pressure was placed on the Sudanese President not to attend. Al-Hussein was appointed in June 2015 as Director of the President’s office and played a pivotal role in Sudan’s improved relations with the Gulf States.  He was appointed as a personal envoy to a number of countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

According to the Sudan Tribune online news service, Al-Hussein credits himself responsible for the decision by the US to ease the sanctions on Sudan after his unannounced visit to Washington to meet congressmen and the former US president, Jimmy Carter.

Al-Hussein was arrested by the intelligence services on Tuesday evening at Khartoum Airport and prevented from boarding a plane to Saudi Arabia but was allowed later to travel to Saudi Arabia via Bahrain after being informed of his dismissal.

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