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Saudi Arabia says it is working on removing Sudan from US 'terror list'

Announcement comes during official visit to Riyadh of Sudanese delegation, including new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok
Sudan's PM Hamdok said last month he held useful talks with US officials on 'terror list' and hopes agreement may be reached 'very soon'

Saudi Arabia said on Sunday that it is working on removing Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The announcement came during an official visit of a Sudanese delegation, including new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, to Riyadh, AFP said.

"The kingdom is working on: removing Sudan from the US terrorism list," the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia is also working on initiating investments in Sudan and improving existing projects, the tweet said, adding that Sudan was seeking Saudi support in international forums and wanted to provide an environment for investment and expand its agricultural sector, Reuters reported. The tweet did not elaborate further. 

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The designation as a state sponsor of terrorism dates back to 1993, over allegations that former president Omar al-Bashir's government was supporting terrorism. A transitional government was installed in August after months of protests that led to the military removing Bashir.

Inclusion on the list makes Sudan ineligible for desperately needed debt relief and financing from lenders including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Removal would potentially open the door for foreign investment, Reuters reported.

A senior US official said in August that the country would test the commitment of Sudan's new transitional government to human rights, freedom of speech and humanitarian access before it agrees to remove the country from the state sponsor of terrorism list.

Hamdok said last month he had held useful talks with US officials on the topic and expressed hope that an agreement could be reached "very soon".

In October 2017, Washington it ended its decades-long trade sanctions on Sudan.

Saudi King Salman met on Sunday with the new prime minister and Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan's joint civilian-military ruling council, and discussed bilateral cooperation.

Sudan established the joint council in August and Hamdok heads the country's first cabinet since the toppling of Bashir, who was pushed out by the military during months-long protests in April.

Sudan plays a key role in the regional interests of Saudi Arabia and its allies, siding with Riyadh against Shia Iran and providing troops in the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen's war against Tehran-backed Houthi rebels.

After Bashir's downfall, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates promised in April to inject $500m (455 million euros) into Sudan's central bank and $2.5bn to help provide food, medicine and petroleum products.

They did not specify if the money was a gift or a loan.