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China cancels Sudan’s pre-2016 debt: envoy

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 2, 2018. (Photo Xinhua).

September 13, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - China has agreed to write off a portion of Sudan’s debt that was incurred through 2015, its envoy here said today.

Speaking at a press conference in Khartoum on Thursday, the Chinese ambassador Li Lianhe disclosed that this deal was reached as part of recent cooperation agreements signed between the two countries.

Earlier this month, the Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir held talks in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jingping in which the latter pledged to assist Sudan in alleviating its economic distress by granting loans of up to 600 million yuan (88 million dollars).

Bashir implored upon Jingping to direct financial institutions dealing with Sudan to take into account the country’s dire financial position by cancelling some of the outstanding debt and offering flexible repayment plan on the remaining balance.

The Chinese official said he expects his country to forgive all of the loans extended to Sudan in line with Jingping’s pledge made at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Beijing in early September in which he announced $60 billion in debt relief and financing package to African nations.

Sudan owes China more than $2 billion and has failed to honour a previous agreement that delayed debt payments for five years.

The Chinese envoy also announced the formation of a joint committee to enhance cooperation with Khartoum in all fields and to address problems that hinder joint cooperation.

He pointed out that China extended grants and interest-free loans to Sudan in order to contribute to its economic development and signed a number of agreements in the fields of agriculture, industry and customs to support bilateral relations.

Lianhe also affirmed his country’s interest in promoting cooperation between the two countries in the field of oil.

(ST)