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Saudi Arabia urges Sudan to take “clear stance” on Gulf crisis

Saudi King Salman receives Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir at his palace in Riyadh in October 2016. (Photo: Saudi Press Agency)


By SudanTribune

The Saudi Ambassador to Khartoum Ali bin Hassan Jaafar has urged Sudan to take “clear stance” on the ongoing Gulf crisis, accusing Qatar of seeking the backing of two states with regional ambitions, Turkey and Iran.

Last month, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar over allegations that the country funds “terrorism”, an accusation that Qatar denies.

They presented Qatar with a list of demands to end the crisis that has roiled the Gulf, giving Doha 10 days ultimatum. The 13-point list includes shutting the Al-Jazeera TV network, cutting back diplomatic ties with Iran, severing relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and ending Turkey’s military presence in Qatar.

However, Doha on Saturday rejected the demands, saying “the world is not governed by ultimatums”.

Sudan is among the Arab states that refused to take part in the ongoing diplomatic crisis and declared its support for the Kuwaiti efforts to settle the rift.

In an interview with the Khartoum-based Al-Sudani newspaper on Sunday, Jaafar praised the distinct relations between Sudan and Saudi Arabia, saying these ties are growing steadily.

He pointed to Sudan’s neutral stance towards the ongoing Gulf crisis, saying we appreciated Sudan’s initial position on the crises.

“However, if Qatar rulers insisted on rejecting the demands of the four countries and decided to escalate the situation and scramble for countries with ambitions in the region such as Turkey and Iran, we hope our Sudanese brothers will take a clear stance,” he said.

He added the current crises “is not about relations among countries but rather the security of the Gulf and the Arab nation”, saying “that is why we wish Sudan to take a clear stance on the crisis”.

In recent years, Sudan has developed close diplomatic ties with both Saudi Arabia and UAE, especially after it broke its decades-old relations with Iran.

Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab investor in Sudan with more than 590 projects.

In 2016, Saudi investments in Sudan increased to $15bn compared to $11bn in 2015.

The estimated size of UAE investments in Sudan is $11 billion approximately, of which about $5 billion are projects in progress while the rest are still in pre-execution phase.

In May 2015, Sudan said it offered UAE’s companies $59 billion investment opportunities mainly in agricultural projects.

Also, Sudan has maintained long-standing and robust relations with Qatar over the years. The tiny Gulf state supported Sudan politically and economically when the country faced an international isolation.

Qatar has hosted successive rounds of peace talks between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels which culminated in the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) in 2011.

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