February 2, 2020 / 5:31 PM / a month ago

Head of Sudan's sovereign council invited to visit Washington

FILE PHOTO: The head of Sudan's Transitional Military Council, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, talks to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during the signing of a power sharing deal in Khartoum, Sudan, August 17, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - The United States on Sunday invited General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan’s sovereign council, to visit Washington, the council said, highlighting warmer bilateral ties since the army toppled President Omar al-Bashir last year.

U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who invited Burhan for the visit during a phone call, said in December that the two countries planned to begin exchanging ambassadors after a 23-year hiatus.

Washington and Khartoum had been at odds for decades, but their relations have improved since Bashir’s overthrow in April 2019 and the formation of a civilian transitional government four months later.

The purpose of the visit will be “to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries and ways of developing them”, the council said in a statement, without giving a date for the trip but saying Burhan “promised to fulfill it soon”.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other cabinet ministers have visited Washington since the transitional government was sworn in. Burhan has visited several neighboring countries and Russia.

In 1993, the U.S. government added Sudan to its list of state sponsors of terrorism over allegations Bashir’s Islamist government was supporting terrorist groups, a designation that makes Sudan technically ineligible for debt relief and financing from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

In November, however, a senior State Department official said the United States may remove Sudan from the list and that the two countries no longer had an adversarial relationship. Congress needs to approve such a removal.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Mahmoud Mourad; Editing by

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