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Sudan Tribune

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Bashir heads to UAE on Saturday

November 27, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir will fly on Saturday morning to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in an official visit accompanied by the ministers of foreign affairs, finance, water resources and electricity.

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
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
The visit which will last several days, is the second this year after a previous one to the Gulf state in February.

Bashir is expected to hold talks with UAE Vice President Mohamed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed.

Zayed is running the day-to-day affairs of the UAE since the president, his half-brother Sheikh Khalifa became ill and out of the public eye.

It is expected that the discussions will focus on economic assistance UAE can provide to Sudan.

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

Sudan said last May that it presented to the UAE businessmen investment opportunities worth $59 billion.

The East African nation appears to have managed to achieve a breakthrough in ties with UAE after a long period of strained relations over Khartoum’s close ties with Tehran.

UAE is in a long-standing territorial dispute with Iran over the three Gulf islands of Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb.

Iran refuses international arbitration over the dispute and insists that its sovereignty over the islands is non-negotiable.

Last year, Sudanese authorities ordered the closure of Iranian cultural centre in the capital Khartoum, and other states in a move which was seen as gesture to the Arab Gulf states.

Sudan is also the only non-Gulf state to send troops to fight in Yemen alongside Saudi Arabia and UAE against Houthi rebels there.

It was ironic that close Gulf allies such as Egypt and Pakistan have refused to heed to Gulf requests for troops.

The UAE-based pro-government newspapers al-Khaleej and al-Bayan strongly commended the arrival of Sudanese troops at the time saying it enforces Arab unity and promises to put Yemen on the path to stability.

Analysts expect Khartoum to be financially rewarded for its stance on Yemen though it is not clear how far they are willing to help the Sudanese economy which has taken a hit after the secession of the oil-rich south in 2011.

(ST)