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Sudanese president hold talks with Qatar’s Emir in Doha

July 8, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – A Sudanese-Qatari summit convened in Doha on Tuesday between president Omer Hassan al-Bashir and the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has discussed bilateral relations and coordination on a number of regional issues.

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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)

Sudan Tribune has reliably learnt that the Qatari foreign minister, Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, concluded a quick visit to Kampala in the past few hours during which he met with his Ugandan counterpart, Sam Kutesa.

The visit is believed to be within the framework of a new Qatari push on the Darfur issue, particularly as Kampala hosts members of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) that includes Darfur rebel groups.

Doha hosted the Darfur peace talks since 2009 which ended with the signing of a peace agreement between Khartoum and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) in 2011. But major Darfuri rebel groups refused to join.

The Qatari government has confirmed its commitment to the Darfur issue, especially with regards to projects for stability of displaced persons and refugees.

Sudan’s ambassador to Qatar, Yasser Khidir, said that the outcome of the talks between the two leaders will manifest soon in the form of new investments and economic projects, as well as “good news” in relation to the Sudanese labour force in Qatar.

The ambassador pointed out that the timing of al-Bashir’s visit confirms that regional and political issues were present in the bilateral talks.

Khidir said that the ministers accompanying Bashir held talks with their Qatari counterparts on economic cooperation between the two countries.

Bashir was accompanied by the minister of the presidency Salah Wansi, foreign minister Ali Karti and the director of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), Mohamed Atta Abbas al-Moula.

Qatar’s foreign minister flew to Khartoum on Sunday in a surprise visit and met with Bashir after which it was announced that the Sudanese leader will travel to Doha.

Qatar is currently facing growing isolation in the Gulf region following the decision last March by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain to withdraw envoys from Doha over its alleged backing of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region, particularly in Egypt.

Newly sworn-in Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi made a quick visit to Khartoum in late June. Al-Sisi is seen as the key figure in the removal of his predecessor Mohamed Morsi last year in response to mass anti-Morsi demonstrations in the country.

Sudanese foreign minister also said recently that Arab Gulf states accuse Khartoum of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar has long been one of Sudan’s few political and financial backers. Last April, Sheikh Tamim visited Khartoum in which a large Forex deposit in Sudan’s Central Bank was announced.

The Sudanese economy has been facing growing woes since the secession of the oil-rich south in mid-2011 and has been seeking external help to shore up its deficits.

(ST)