Sudan reduces troop numbers in Yemen

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Sudan’s prime minister said his country had reduced its troops in Yemen from 15 000 to 5 000, confirming a drawdown in a conflict he said could not be solved militarily.

Abdalla Hamdok gave details of troop levels in public for the first time on his return from talks in Washington at the weekend.

Sudanese troops have been deployed as part of a Saudi-led alliance that intervened in Yemen in 2015 against the Houthi movement that controls Sanaa.

“Regarding Yemen we said there is no military solution and there must be a political solution,” Hamdok told reporters at a briefing.

There was speculation Sudan would reduce troop numbers since the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said in June it down scaled its military presence in Yemen, and later withdrew troops from Aden.

The deployment of Sudanese troops in Yemen was criticised by some political groups.

The conflict is seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis, who control most big urban centres, say they are fighting a corrupt system.

Riyadh has been holding informal talks with the Houthis since September on a ceasefire, sources said, as it seeks to exit an unpopular war following UAE troop withdrawals.

The war killed thousands and pushed millions to the brink of famine.

TALKS IN WASHINGTON

Hamdok said there was no discussions in Washington about withdrawing Sudanese forces from Yemen.

During the visit, he held successful talks with US officials on Sudan’s removal from the US state sponsors of terrorism list, a step that would allow Khartoum to access financial support from international lenders.

From an initial list of seven conditions for Sudan’s removal from the list, including human rights and peace talks with rebels, all were dealt with bar the issue of compensation for families of victims of terrorist attacks, Hamdok told reporters at Khartoum airport.

Counter-terrorism co-operation was “ongoing issue”, he said. Sudan’s lifting from the list has to pass Congress. Hamdok said no timetable was agreed for the process.

During his five-day visit Sudan and the United States agreed to exchange ambassadors for the first time in 23 years.



Hamdok also held talks with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank over Sudan’s foreign debt of nearly $60 billion.