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Al-Bashir to tour Gulf countries over crisis with Qatar

July 15, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir on Monday will head to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the start of an Arab Gulf tour that will also take him to Saudi Arabia, said the official news agency SUNA.

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Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir (C) flanked by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (L) and UAE Vice-President Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum (R) in Abu Dhabi on 22 February 2015

On Thursday, Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said al-Bashir on Sunday will fly to Kuwait at the start of a tour that will also take him to UAE to back efforts by the Emir of Kuwait to resolve the Gulf crisis.

However, SUNA on Saturday said al-Bashir will travel to the UAE Monday “on a two-day visit to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries and issues of common concern”.

According to the agency, al-Bashir on Tuesday “will head to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on a three-day visit to hold discussions with his brother the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman”.

Last month, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt severed ties with Qatar accusing it of supporting Islamist terrorist groups and arch-foe Iran. But Doha vehemently denies the charges.

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.

Saudi Ambassador to Khartoum Ali bin Hassan Jaafar earlier this month 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.

Also, press reports claimed the four countries asked Washington to delay the permanent lifting of sanctions on Sudan in order to put pressure on Khartoum government which refuses to sever relations with Qatar.

But Ghandour dismissed these reports, saying Sudan is adhering to its reconciliatory stance on the Gulf crisis and calls for a solution through the Kuwaiti mediation.

On Thursday, Sudan’s Minister of Information Ahmed Bilal Osman criticised Al-Jazeera TV over unfair coverage of Egypt’s news, saying the Qatari broadcaster seeks to change the Egyptian regime.

However, the information ministry was quick to deny that Khartoum is planning to join the Saudi-led alliance against Qatar and reaffirmed Khartoum support for the Kuwaiti efforts to send the rift between the Gulf countries.

(ST)