Sudan: Khartoum-Washington Relations on Way to Normal
Sudanese foreign minister Mustafa Othman Ismail said Thursday the current dialogue between Khartoum and Washington has positive indications that would pave the way for re-establishing bilateral ties to their normal status, according to Kuwaiti official agency (KUNA).
Ismail told a news conference in Khartoum the US, during the past several months, has started to change its "hostile" policy against Sudan and lifted a ban on Khartoum enabling it to import us-manufactured food and spare parts of trains.
Through its dialogue with the US, Ismail said Sudan sought to stop internal instability and to stop accusing Khartoum of backing terrorism.
He denied Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, accused by Washington of masterminding the 1998 bombing of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar-as-Salam, owned any properties in Sudan.
Ties between Sudan and the US started to deteriorate when president Omar al-Bashir came to power through a coup d'etat in 1989.
Ismail, meanwhile, said Sudan’s ties with the Arab countries have positive impact on the Sudanese economy.
Arab funds, like the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development, the Arab Investment Fund, the Saudi Fund and the Abu Dhabi Fund, have extended financial assistance to Sudan.
He asserted that Sudan did not intend to establish ties with Israel.
"The peace talks in the Middle East region proved that Israel was not desired to achieving a just and comprehensive peace," he said.
In the meantime, the UN World Food Program (WFP) has appealed to international donors to offer food aid to replenish depleted stocks meant for the needy population in south Sudan.
A press release faxed by the WFP in Khartoum Thursday said the agency "urgently needs pledges of food aid for Sudan as current stocks run out in June," adding that 1.7 million Sudanese "are relying each month on WFP food to survive as a result of civil war, drought, crop failure and floods."
It said the current stocks would finish "at precisely the same time they are needed most: during the peak of the 'hunger months' from April to October."
The agency said that the current low food stocks have led to a scaling down of therapeutic and supplementary feeding programs for malnourished persons and half ration to other vulnerable people.
Hundreds of thousands of people will be at risk after June 2000 as a result of the shortage of food aid combined with serious crop failure due to drought and pest attacks, WFP warned.
It has called upon the donors to make their contributions immediately, noting that it can take up to four months for the food to be purchased and shipped.
WFP said 55,000 metric tons of food it appealed for last January, only 11,300 tons have so far been contributed.
"Additional contributions are urgently required to avert a famine in Sudan," the agency said – (Agencies)
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