CAIRO — Sudan’s new prime minister has repeatedly urged the West to end his country’s international pariah status. He says it’s the only way to save the nation’s fragile democratic transition from a plunging economy.
In September, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok said he was expecting a “big breakthrough” that would lead to removing Sudan from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism and unlocking desperately needed foreign aid.
But so far, nothing has changed — except that Hamdok is now turning to two wealthy Gulf Arab monarchies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to secure the funds to keep his government afloat. Both countries are known for bankrolling military rulers in Egypt, Libya and, previously, Sudan.
The U.S. named Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993, and the designation stuck throughout President Omar al-Bashir’s rule. The U.S. began a formal process to de-list Sudan in January 2017, but this was put on hold when Sudan’s mass protests erupted last year. The uprising toppled al-Bashir and eventually forced the military into a power-sharing agreement with civilians.