US, Sudan to exchange ambassadors


The US and Sudan plan to exchange ambassadors after a 23-year gap, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in the latest sign of warming relations between the two countries.

The relationship between Washington and Khartoum improved since the overthrow in April of Omar al-Bashir and formation of a civilian transitional government in August.

The announcement that the two countries would begin the process of exchanging ambassadors again came during Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s first visit to Washington this week.

“This decision is a meaningful step forward in strengthening the US-Sudan bilateral relationship, particularly as the civilian-led transitional government works to implement reforms under the political agreement and constitutional declaration of August 17, 2019,” Pompeo said in a statement.

The Prime Minister discussed strengthening ties between the US and Sudan during his Washington meeting with David Hale, State Department undersecretary for political affairs.

“After a 23-year interruption, it is great to see the start of the ambassador exchange operation. This is an important step toward rebuilding Sudan,” Hamdok said on Twitter after the meeting.

Washington and Khartoum have been at odds for decades. The US government added Sudan to its list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1993 over allegations Bashir’s Islamist government was supporting terrorist groups, a designation making Sudan technically ineligible for debt relief and financing from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Last month, a senior State Department official said the US may remove Sudan from the list and the countries no longer had an adversarial relationship. Congress needs to approve a removal.

Months of demonstrations over price hikes for fuel and bread and cash shortages led to an uprising against Bashir, toppled by the military in April.

Sudan’s transitional government was formed in August and agreed with the US it could start engaging international institutions while still on a list of countries deemed sponsors of terrorism.