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We have no dispute with Qatar, insists senior Sudan official

May 26, 2020 at 11:11 am

Sudanese General and Vice President of Sudanese Transitional Military Council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo is seen before his speech in Khartoum, Sudan on June 18, 2019 [Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency]

Sudan’s Vice-President of its Parliament, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo — known as Hemeti — confirmed on Sunday that there is no dispute with Qatar.

He said: “We have no issues with Qatar or any other country,” Hemeti told Sudania24. “We are building our relations in accordance with our national interests.”

He did, though, point out that parties which he did not name “tried to generate disputes with Qatar” when the Transitional Military Council (TMC) took power following the ousting of former President Omar Al-Bashir on 11 April last year. Local media at the time reported that the TMC refused to receive a Qatari delegation headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, when he arrived in Khartoum.

The army leadership overthrew Al-Bashir, who had ruled Sudan since 1989 under the pressure of popular protests that began in late 2018 against the deteriorating economic and health conditions prevailing in the country. A 39-month transitional period started on 21 August last year as part of the efforts to improve the country’s economic and political situation.

READ: Libya’s grand mufti thanks Qatar, Turkey

When asked about relations with Libya, Hemeti noted that Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar rejected his initiative to reconcile with the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). The Sudanese official insisted that the army’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which he heads, are not in Libya. “We have no links with any party there. Our forces cannot be mercenaries.”

Relations between Sudan and Libya are wide and deep rooted, he affirmed. “That is why I led a reconciliation initiative between the GNA and the forces of Khalifa Haftar. The Libyan government agreed to the peace initiative, but Haftar, whom I contacted through mediators, rejected it.” He did not provide further details.

With the support of some Arab and European countries, Haftar’s militia has been waging a faltering assault since April 2019 to take control of Tripoli, the seat of the GNA. The campaign has resulted in civilian deaths and injuries, as well as extensive material damage.

In another context, Hemeti revealed that although the authorities in Saudi Arabia and the UAE had promised to pump $3 billion into Sudan to support the transitional phase, only the “deposit” of $500 million had been received to date. Some “political adversaries” — who he did not name — have “prevented” Sudan from receiving the balance, he added. There was no immediate comment from Saudi Arabia and the UAE about this claim.