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21.01.2021 Sudan

UK pledges $55 million in aid during Raab visit to Sudan

By AFP
UK pledges $55 million in aid during Raab visit to Sudan
LISTEN JAN 21, 2021

Britain announced almost $55 million in aid to Sudan during a visit by its foreign secretary to Khartoum, the embassy said Thursday.

Dominic Raab announced "the disbursement of 40 million pounds ($54.9 million) to the Sudan Family Support Programme - to provide 1.6 million people with direct financial support," the embassy said in a statement.

Raab arrived in Sudan late Wednesday on the first visit by a British foreign secretary to the East African country in over a decade.

The visit, the embassy said, shows the UK's "support" for Sudan's transition following the April 2019 ouster of president Omar al-Bashir following months of mass protests against his rule.

Britain's top diplomat met with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, the head of Sudan's ruling council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and other officials.

During his meeting with Hamdok, Raab said the UK was ready to "support Sudan's debt relief once economic reforms are implemented".

Sudan has been undergoing a rocky transition since the ouster of Bashir whose three-decade rule was marked by economic hardship, internal conflicts and international sanctions.

The post-Bashir government has sought to improve its standing among the international community.

In October, it signed a peace agreement with the country's main rebel groups in the hopes of ending long-running conflicts.

It has also been forging closer ties with the United States, and last month, Washington removed Khartoum from its blacklist of "state sponsors of terrorism".

Raab's visit to Sudan comes after days of deadly clashes in the country's troubled Darfur region that left more than 200 people dead and scores wounded.

Earlier this month, Sudan signed a memorandum of understanding with the US to clear Sudan's arrears to the World Bank.

"This move will enable Sudan to regain access to over $1 billion in annual financing from the World Bank for the first time in 27 years," the government said.

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