For the first time in nearly 24 years, Sudan has appointed its first ambassador to the United States. Authorities in both countries agreed to improve ties following the ousting of long time President Omar al-Bashir.
The foreign ministry of Sudan’s transitional government said on Monday it had chosen Nureldin Satti, a veteran diplomat, as ambassador in Washington, DC, and that US authorities had approved his nomination.
Satti served as Sudan’s ambassador to France in the 1990s. He went on to work with the United Nations peacekeeping missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.
The appointment of ambassadors follows a visit by Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to Washington, DC in December. At this meeting, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the two countries would exchange ambassadors again after a 23-year absence.
The US diplomat would be nominated by President Donald Trump and needs to be confirmed by the country’s Senate.
Both countries had for almost a quarter of a century appointed only charge d’affaires to run their missions in Washington and Khartoum. D’affaires is a diplomatic rank that heads an embassy in the absence of an official ambassador.
Sudan on United States Blacklist
In 1993, the US government added Sudan to its list of state sponsors of terrorism over allegations that al-Bashir’s government was supporting armed groups. This left Sudan ineligible for badly needed debt relief and financing from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
Sudan is currently under a transitional administration that took power in August last year. Hamdok’s government has sought to bolster its international standing and mend ties with the United States. One of his government’s top priority is to remove Sudan from the US blacklist.
The State Department representative declined to comment on where the talks are about Sudan being removed from the list. However, it confirmed that the two countries remain engaged in active discussions.
“Compensation for the victims of terrorism remains a priority for the US government. The United States and Sudan continue to engage regarding certain terrorism-related claims,” the spokesperson said.
In February, Khartoum agreed to compensate the families of US sailors killed in an al-Qaeda attack on US Navy destroyer USS Cole in Yemen’s Aden harbour in 2000.
The US had for years accused Sudan of training and supporting the attackers. Sudan repeatedly denies these charges however, it agreed to the settlement in a bid to be removed from Washington’s terrorism blacklist.