Sudanese President, Omar Al-Bashir, arrived in Saudi Arabia to hold talks with King Salman about the Gulf crisis, the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported yesterday.
It is Al-Bashir’s first visit abroad since the decision by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to severe diplomatic ties with the small Gulf state of Qatar. He was received on arrival at Jeddah International Airport by the Deputy Governor of Mecca, Prince Abdullah Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz and a number of officials.
Sudan’s Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, said Al-Bashir will express support for the mediation efforts of the Kuwaiti Emir Jabbar Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to resolve the crisis. Sudanese media outlets also say that the two leaders will discuss the expected lifting of the US sanctions on Sudan as well as Khartoum’s participation in the Saudi led coalition in Yemen.
The three Gulf countries and Egypt accuse Qatar of siding with Iran and of supporting groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas who the Gulf states allege are threats to the region’s peace and security – Qatar rejects the accusations.
Sudan has strong ties with Doha and good relations with Saudi, the UAE and Bahrain but has not joined either side in the crisis preferring to support the mediation process.