New PM Seeks to Remove Sudan from US List of Terror Sponsors

Sunday, 25 August, 2019 - 17:30
Asharq Al-Awsat

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said Sunday that ending his country's international pariah status and drastically cutting military spending are prerequisites for rescuing a faltering economy.

Hamdok, a well-known economist, told The Associated Press in an interview that he has already talked to US officials about removing Sudan from Washington's list of countries sponsoring terrorism and portrayed their reaction as positive.

He said that "a democratic Sudan is not a threat to anybody in the world."

Hamdok was sworn in last week as the leader of Sudan's transitional government. His appointment came four months after the overthrow of president Omar al-Bashir, who ruled the country for nearly three decades.

An 11-member Sovereign Council was also sworn in last week. The civilian-majority Council replaces the Transitional Military Council (TMC) that took charge after months of deadly street protests brought down Bashir in April.

Sudan was designated a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993 under former US President Bill Clinton, cutting it off from financial markets and strangling its economy.

Washington lifted a 20-year trade embargo against Sudan in 2017 and was in the process of discussions on removing it from the US terror list when the military stepped in on April 11 to depose Bashir.

In the interview, Hamdok also hoped to drastically cut Sudan's military spending which he said makes up a large chunk of the state budget.

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