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World

Sudan says Pompeo invites chief of ruling body to US

The ruling civilian-led sovereign council said its chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan received the invitation in
02 Feb 2020
  • The ruling civilian-led sovereign council said its chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan received the invitation in a telephone call from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier on Sunday.

KHARTOUM: Sudan said Sunday the US had invited the head of its ruling body to Washington for an official visit, the first such move in more than three decades.

The ruling civilian-led sovereign council said its chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan received the invitation in a telephone call from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier on Sunday.

"General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said he would make the visit soon," the council said in a statement, without further details.

Relations between the northeast African country and the US soured in the 1990s after now-toppled leader Omar al-Bashir seized power in an Islamist-baked coup in 1989 after ousting an elected government.

In 1993, the US blacklisted Sudan as state sponsor of terrorism as Bashir's regime hosted Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, who resided in the country between 1992-1996.

Washington further stepped up its measures against Sudan by imposing tough trade sanctions on the country in 1997.

It lifted those restrictions in October 2017, but has kept Sudan in its state sponsor of terrorism list along with North Korea, Iran and Syria.

However, talks to remove Sudan from the blacklist have gained momentum since Bashir's ouster last April. Several delegations of US officials and members of Congress have visited Sudan to analyse the situation.

Bashir was removed by the army in a palace coup on the back of a nationwide protest movement against his iron-fisted regime.

Since August, Sudan has been ruled by the civilian-majority sovereign council headed by Burhan, which is tasked with overseeing the country's transition to civilian rule, as demanded by protesters.