First Sudanese ambassador to US in over 20 years named

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Sudan appointed its first ambassador to the US in almost a quarter of a century, its foreign ministry said in a move to normalise relations after decades of antagonism.

Both countries pledged to improve ties after the fall of veteran Islamist ruler Omar al-Bashir a year ago.

The Sudanese foreign ministry said it chose Noureldin Sati, a veteran diplomat, as ambassador in Washington and US authorities approved his nomination.

A State Department representative declined to provide insight on plans to appoint a US ambassador to Sudan and said it did not have specific information on the timing for that, but called the December decision to exchange ambassadors “a historic step.”

Both countries had for almost a quarter of century only charge d’affaires, a diplomatic rank under an ambassador, to manage embassies in Washington and Khartoum.

In December, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the countries would exchange ambassadors. The US ambassador would be nominated by President Donald Trump and needs to be confirmed by the Senate.

The US government added Sudan to its list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1993 over allegations Bashir’s Islamist government supported Islamist militant groups, leaving Sudan ineligible for badly needed debt relief and financing from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Last year, a senior State Department official said the US might remove Sudan from the list but Congress needed to ratify the move.

The State Department representative declined to comment on internal US government deliberations on talks about Sudan being removed from the list but added both countries remain engaged in active discussions.

“Compensation for victims of terrorism remains a priority for the US government. The USD and Sudan continue to engage on certain terrorism related claims,” the spokesperson said.