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WASHINGTON - 4 Dec 2019

US to appoint ambassador to Sudan, ending 23-year gap

File photo: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
File photo: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The United States and Sudan plan to begin exchanging ambassadors for the first time since 23 years, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday.

Relations between Washington and Khartoum have improved since the overthrow in April of then-President Omar al-Bashir.

Sudan was designated a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993 by the United States, cutting it off from financial markets, over reports that Omar Bashir’s government was sponsoring terrorism.

Washington has never named an ambassador since then and has only had a Charge d’Affaires head its embassy.

The announcement that the two countries would begin exchanging ambassadors again comes as Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok visits Washington to hold meetings with senior US officials. 

Hamdok, who took charge in August, is the first Sudanese prime minister to visit Washington since 1985.

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

“We look forward to working with the Senate to confirm an ambassador,” he added.

The US Secretary of State hailed early steps taken by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to "break with the policies and practices of the previous regime".

Pompeo confirmed that the United States remains a steadfast partner of the Sudanese people and their pursuit of peace, security, prosperity, democracy, and equality.