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President: Sudan still suffering from economic embargo

President of Sudan Omar Al-Bashir addresses during a joint press conference held with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (not seen) following their inter-delegation meeting in Khartoum, Sudan on 24 December, 2017 [Binnur Ege Gürün/Anadolu Agency]
President of Sudan Omar Al-Bashir in Khartoum, Sudan [Binnur Ege Gürün/Anadolu Agency]

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir told the Khartoum State government yesterday that Sudan was still suffering from a politically motivated economic embargo and was being deprived of international debt cancellation, the Sudan Tribune reported.

"Sudan is still under economic embargo, heavily indebted and deprived of the international debt-relief programme for political reasons. Also, it is deprived of concessional financing facility provided by international institutions," he told officials in Khartoum.

The Sudanese president thanked Arab and Islamic financial institutions, as well as China and Turkey for their support to Sudan, but stressed that more help was needed.

Although, US economic sanctions on Sudan were lifted in October, no official meeting has taken place, despite both countries expressing their desire to resume bilateral relations.

Sudan's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism together with Iran, Syria and North Korea by the US government has also been a source of tension. Whilst Washington has admitted Khartoum's participation in counter-terrorism operations, the country remains on the terror list in an effort to pressure it to sign peace agreements with the armed groups, ensure freedoms and achieve democratic reforms.

Read: US official discusses preparation of second phase of dialogue with Sudan

Sudan has been facing heightened economic uncertainty in recent months with an acute shortage of foreign currency resulting in the pound plunging against the dollar. Despite the lifting of US economic sanctions last year, international banks have continued to be wary of doing business with financial institutions in the country.

Last month Al-Bashir ordered the closure of 13 Sudanese overseas missions and made numerous job cuts at the foreign ministry in an effort to cut costs. The move came days after he fired foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour following his revelations that Sudanese diplomats abroad had not been paid for months.

Sudan's overall economy was hit particularly hard after the south seceded from the north in 2011, taking with it about 75 per cent of oil earnings.

A surging inflation rate of about 56 per cent, regular fuel shortages and food items rising at unprecedented prices have also triggered sporadic anti-government protests in Khartoum and some other towns.

Earlier this week, EU envoy Jean-Michel Dumond said that the European delegation was ready to provide technical assistance for the Sudanese economic sector. However, the EU has otherwise halted all economic aid to Sudan due to the country's lack of political reforms.

Read: Can Sudan's President win his war on corruption?

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