KHARTOUM: Sudan announced on Monday that the United States had approved Khartoum’s pick of a veteran diplomat as ambassador to Washington, the first such envoy in over two decades.
Ties between Khartoum and Washington had been strained during the three-decade dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir, but eased after he was ousted by the army last year following mass protests.
Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok visited Washington in December and the two countries agreed to exchange envoys.
In a statement, Sudan’s foreign ministry said Monday “the US government approved the nomination of Nour Eddin Satti as an ambassador and plenipotentiary of the Republic of Sudan.” A veteran diplomat, Satti served as Sudan’s ambassador to France in the 1990s and later worked with United Nations peacekeeping missions in Congo and Rwanda.
Monday’s step of recognising Satti as Sudan’s first to Washington since 1998 comes as part of “normalising relations” between Khartoum and Washington, the ministry said.
Sudan is currently ruled by a transitional administration that took power in August last year after Bashir’s fall.
During the Islamist strongman’s rule, Washington slapped sanctions on Sudan and designated the country as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Hamdok’s government has sought to bolster its international standing and mend ties with the US.
In February, Khartoum agreed to compensate the families of American victims of a suicide bombing targeting navy destroyer USS Cole in Yemen’s Aden harbour in 2000. The attack was claimed by Al Qaeda.
The US had for years accused Sudan, which once hosted the global network’s leader Osama bin Laden, of training and supporting the attackers.
Sudan always denied the charges but agreed to the settlement to fulfil a key US condition to remove it from Washington’s terrorism blacklist.
The 1993 designation by Washington has decimated Sudan’s economy.
Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2020