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Sudan Tribune

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Bashir heads to Qatar on Sunday, phones Saudi king to offer condolences

May 23, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir will fly to Doha on Sunday for talks with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani.

Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir (L) and the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Doha on 8 July 2014 (QNA)
Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir (L) and the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Doha on 8 July 2014 (QNA)
Qatar news agency (QNA) said the two leaders will discuss bilateral ties but did not say how long the visit will last.

Senior diplomatic sources told Sudan Tribune that the crisis in Yemen will Syria will be part of the discussions.

They noted Sudan’s participation in the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen against Iran-backed Houthi rebels and Bashir’s recent assertions that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad need to be part of the political solution.

Bashir could also renew his invitation to the Qatari Emir to participate in his swearing-in ceremony scheduled June 2nd, the sources said.

The Sudanese leader today returned home from a previously unannounced trip to Saudi Arabia in which he met with King Salman Bin Abdel-Aziz and other senior officials.

He also held talks with Yemeni president Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi who has resided in Riyadh shortly before the military campaign started in March.

Today, Bashir phoned King Salman to condemn the suicide bombing that targeted a Shiite mosque in East Saudi Arabia province of Qatif. He conveyed his condolences and that of the Sudanese people over the victims.

The Saudi monarch expressed his gratitude to Bashir for his phone call.

Sudan’s foreign ministry issued a separate statement saying that Khartoum would continue to support the security of Saudi Arabia and expressed confidence in the ability of Riyadh’s security bodies to nab the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.

The relations between two countries appear to have warmed up after years of tense relations. Hours after Bashir’s visit to Riyadh last March, it was announced that Sudan has joined the military coalition in Yemen.

Khartoum’s close ties with Tehran was the main cause of cool relations with Riyadh. Last year, Sudan closed Iranian cultural centers in the country which was seen as a gesture of goodwill towards Arab Gulf states.

Sudanese officials have expressed strong hope that Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf states would generously reward Khartoum for shifting alliances away from Iran.

But a Gulf diplomat speaking to Reuters last month downplayed these hopes.

“There is no trust in the Gulf for Omer al-Bashir…The leaders in the Gulf think that Bashir can betray them at any time, so they won’t give him aid until he shows he is serious about joining them and leaving Iran,” the diplomat said.

In April, the Saudi ambassador in Sudan denied local media reports that his country provided any cash assistance to Khartoum.