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International banks still refrain from making money transfer to Sudan: minister

February 11, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Minister of Finance said that international banks are still refraining from making wire transfers and dealing with Sudan despite the lifting of economic sanctions on Sudan since 2017.

Ibrahim al-Badawi speaks at press conference in Khartoum on 31 October 2019 (ST photo)

Ibrahim al-Badawi, in a press conference held in Khartoum on Monday, said that "international banks refuse to deal with Sudan fearing uncertainties ion this respect."

US senior diplomat for Africa Tibor Nagy denied on January 27 that placing Sudan on the list of state sponsors of terrorism has an impact on the international banks’ dealings with Sudan.

"So the issue is, number one, reputational; number two, it is the arrears that Sudan has built up that will need to be negotiated in the future," he said pointing to Sudan’s foreign debt arrears which are estimated at more than 60 billion US dollars.

Al-Badawi revealed that contacts have been made with the U.S. Treasury in September 2019 to reopen the Citibank branch in Khartoum, but the US administration’s response that the matter was related to a private sector bank.

In turn, the Citibank administration made clear to them that they needed to hold consultations with the government on its position in the future of the relationship with Sudan before taking this step, he said

"Recently we spoke with the U.S. special envoy about the importance of reopening the Citibank branch in Khartoum because that would qualify the bank to be the intermediary bank to facilitate international transfer and funds to Sudan," he said.

The minister said that this situation prevented the government from benefiting from a program to receive financial deposits and donations from the Sudanese in the Diaspora.

U.S. officials say they still need more time to finalize Sudan’s removal process from the lists of state sponsors of terrorism, despite the repeated Sudanese requests and international pressures.

"As far as meetings go, obviously, there are still to be some meetings in the future," said a senior US diplomat on Monday.

(ST)