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Sudan turns to UAE for aid, as Bashir leaves Qatar empty-handed

Bashir has been under pressure to quit [AFP]

Date of publication: 23 January, 2019

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Qatar's Emir Tamim al-Thani is hosting Sudan's embattled President Omar al-Bashir.

Sudan's embattled President Omar al-Bashir has turned to the UAE for aid, after leaving Qatar with words of support but it appears no funds, according to the country's oil minister.

"In light of the current circumstances, we received assistance from the United Arab Emirates," Oil Minister Azhari Abdel Qader said on Wednesday, according to Lebanon's The Daily Star newspaper. 

"Russia and Turkey offered us assistance including fuel, wheat and others, and we accepted it as a normal matter between friendly countries in light of the current circumstances that Sudan is going through.

The Sudanese president arrived in Qatar on Tuesday where he met the emir, as Bashir makes an overseas trip to rival Gulf states as he faces harsh criticism at home over economic mismanagement.

Demonstrations have been held against inflation and subsidy cuts - along with Bashir's autocratic rule - leading to a crackdown on protesters that have killed between 26 according to officials and 40 according to activists.

Qatar's leader Emir Tamim al-Thani called for "unity and stability" in Sudan, as Bashir seeks international support, but economic assistance appeared forthcoming.

Emir Tamim in a statement said that Qatar that the unity of Sudan was paramount.

"President Bashir briefed the emir on the latest updates regarding the situation and challenges facing the country," a statement from the royal court stated.

"The emir affirmed Qatar's firm stance on Sudan's unity and stability, and they discussed the latest developments in the Darfur peace process."

However, the statement did not detail any aid packages for the embattled Sudanese government, with Bashir's trip to Qatar reportedly an attempt to bring in cash, according to media in Sudan.
 
Sudan's president will also reportedly visit Qatar's regional rival the UAE, along with a country to remain neutral in the Gulf crisis - Kuwait. 

Sudan has tried to balance the two sides in the Gulf crisis in an attempt to shore up more support and cash, analysts have told The New Arab.

Thousands of Sudanese troops are also reportedly taking part in the Saudi-UAE military campaign in Yemen.

"Khartoum has recently become the centre of a geopolitical competition between different camps mainly Turkey and Qatar from one side, Saudi Arabia and UAE from another," Bakeer said.

"Bashir will try to utilise the regional differences to survive his internal crisis."

Sudan is facing an economic crisis, following foreign currency shortages and rising inflation.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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