Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 September 2020

Head of Sudan's sovereign council invited to visit Washington

The US and Sudan have been improving relations since last year's revolution toppled longtime autocrat Omar Al Bashir

In a sign of warming ties, the United States invited the head of Sudan's Sovereign Council, Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, to visit Washington.

The invitation was extended by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Gen Al Burhan "promised to fulfil it soon", the council said, without giving a date for the trip.

The council, made up of military officials and civilians, was tasked with paving the way for democracy after last year's revolution toppled autocrat Omar Al Bashir in April and ushered in sweeping changes.

Washington and Khartoum have been at odds for decades and Sudan remains on a US list of state sponsors of terrorism.

But the two countries are improving relations and are set to exchange ambassadors after a 23-year hiatus.

The purpose of the visit will be "to discuss relations between the two countries and ways of developing them," the council said.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other Cabinet ministers have visited Washington since the transitional government was sworn in.

Gen Al Burhan has visited several neighbouring countries and Russia.

The US government added Sudan to its list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1993, over allegations that Al Bashir's government was supporting terrorist groups.

The designation made Sudan technically ineligible for debt relief and financing from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

In November, however, a senior State Department official said the US may remove Sudan from the list, subject to congressional approval.

The official said the two countries no longer had an adversarial relationship.

Updated: February 3, 2020 01:48 PM

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