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France's foreign minister pledges support for 'new Sudan'

France's foreign minister pledges support for 'new Sudan'
FILE PHOTO: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks after a meeting of the Russian-French Security Cooperation Council in Moscow, Russia, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov -
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SHAMIL ZHUMATOV(Reuters)
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KHARTOUM (Reuters) – France’s foreign minister announced 60 million euros (£53.1 million) in aid for Sudan’s transitional authorities during a visit to Khartoum on Monday, while offering to help Sudan rebuild relations with international lenders and tackle its foreign debt.

“We are in a new Sudan, a Sudan which is at a key moment in its history, and France is at the side of this new Sudan,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters, paying tribute to peaceful protests that led to the ouster of former President Omar al-Bashir in April.

Le Drian spoke alongside his Sudanese counterpart Asmaa Abdallah, who was named in a government sworn in last week following a power-sharing deal between the military and civilian groups.

Talks on Monday focused on the new Sudanese government’s priorities, Le Drian said, including the top priority of fixing an economic crisis that triggered the protests that led to Bashir’s overthrow.

“We have decided to commit 60 million euros, including 15 million very quickly, to help Sudan’s transformation and peaceful revolution,” he said.

“We would also like to accompany Sudan in its path to full reintegration in the concert of nations, and in the rapid conclusion of a peace agreement with all rebel movements.”

Le Drian said France would also lobby with European partners for Sudan to be removed from the U.S. list of countries it considers state sponsors of terrorism.

The listing, which dates to Bashir’s three-decade rule, prevents Sudan from receiving much needed financial aid from international lenders.

“The commitments made, the way the army has understood its role during this period – all that points in the direction of Sudan’s exit from this list.”

“We will help Sudan to normalise relations with these international financial institutions and advance in the process that will allow it to obtain a treatment for its foreign debt.”

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Aidan Lewis; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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