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Saudi, Egyptian officials discuss Sudan’s proposal for Arab food security

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April 8, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan is hosting the agriculture ministers from Egypt and Saudi Arabia coming in separate visits to Khartoum for discussions on a proposal made by president Omer Hassan al-Bashir to Arab nations on using his country’s vast fertile lands to achieve Arab food security.

A Sudanese farmer stands in a field of sorghum in Gezira state (AFP)

The Saudi minister Abdelrahman al-Fadli, who met on Wednesday with Bashir and other officials, said his visit aims at exploring agricultural investment opportunities in Sudan that could contribute to filling the needs of the Saudi market.

“Saudi Arabia is optimistic about working in Sudan in the field of investment and development to meet its needs of agricultural products,” he told reporters.

The Sudanese investment minister Mustafa Osman Ismail pledged to facilitate investments for Saudi investors and noted that al-Fadli’s visit comes as a follow-up to Bashir’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia.

Bashir’s talks with Saudi officials appeared to have succeeded in normalizing tense ties between the two nations caused by Khartoum’s close relationship with Tehran.

Sudan is now a member of the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen that is targeting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who have overran government troops in Sana’a and parts of Aden.

Officials in Khartoum say they now expect a surge in investments from Arab Gulf states in light of improved relations.

The Egyptian agriculture minister Salah Hilal will lead a delegation to Khartoum next Tuesday in a three-day visit for talks on enhancing cooperation and reviewing progress of joint projects.

Sudan has granted Egyptian investors agricultural land holdings but they have yet to be utilised.

(ST)

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