Egypt working with Washington to remove Sudan from terror list

Foreign minister says he wants international support for Sudan’s new civilian government

Asma Mohamed Abdalla (R) the newly appointed Sudanese Foreign Monister meets with her Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on September 9, 2019.  Shoukry arrived in Khartoum today, officials said, to begin what Cairo hailed as a "new start" in relations as Sudan embarks on a transition to civilian rule.
Egypt was a steadfast ally of Sudanese military generals who seized power after the army ousted long-time leader Omar al-Bashir in April following months of nationwide protests against his autocratic rule. / AFP / Ebrahim HAMID
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Egypt’s top diplomat on Monday said he is working with world powers to remove Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said he wants international support for Sudan’s new civilian government. He confirmed that Cairo was working with Washington and other countries to remove Sudan from the terror list.

"Egypt is supporting Sudan to be removed from the terrorism list," he told reporters in Khartoum.

"We have also raised this issue with the United States of America ... we will continue pushing for it in co-ordination with the Sudanese authorities."

The US named Sudan a “state of sponsor of terror” in 1993, four years after President Omar Al Bashir seized power in a military coup.

The designation remained throughout the Bashir regime.

As one of the last acts of former president Barack Obama's administration, the US began a formal process to de-list Sudan in January 2017, but this was put on hold when the mass protests against Mr Al Bashir began in December.

Mr Shoukry spoke alongside his Sudanese counterpart, Asmaa Abdalla, the country’s first woman foreign minister.

Mrs Abdalla was sworn in on Sunday as part of a civilian cabinet that will run the country for a 39-month period following the military's removal of Mr Al Bashir in April.

The Egyptian foreign minister also met with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and General Abdel Fatah Al Burhan, the head of a joint civilian-military sovereign council that is overseeing Sudan’s transition.

Mr Shoukry said his talks with the Sudanese officials “aimed to boost relations between the two countries”.

Egypt hailed the meetings as a "new start" in relations with Sudan as the country transitions towards democracy.

Ties between the two states have been strained by border and trade disputes, although efforts have been made to address these issues.

Egypt's foreign ministry said earlier that Mr Shoukry's visit "shows Egypt's support for Sudan and to its people in achieving their demands".

Meanwhile, Gen Al Burhan revealed plans to restructure Sudan's security services.

"My team have been instructed to restructure the country's armed forces and review its laws, especially the National Intelligence Services," Gen Al Burhan said in an interview with Sky News Arabia.

There is "significant" determination to "bring peace to the country from all sides", he said.