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Minister’s ouster unlikely to slow Sudan’s push to get off US ‘terror’ list

Fired Sudan foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour

Khartoum’s growing cooperation in areas of intelligence-sharing with Washington helped lift the sanctions, US officials say.

Meanwhile, experts said that Ghandour’s successor will need a long time to build confidence with his regional and international counterparts, especially while negotiating controversial issues like the Grand Renaissance Nile Dam that Ethiopia is building.

“His successor will need a long time to understand such a complicated file and to build confidence with Egyptians and Ethiopians,” said prominent Sudanese columnist Faisal Saleh.

Ghandour, largely respected by his regional counterparts, hosted talks this month with Egypt and Ethiopia over the project, but the discussions failed to break an ongoing deadlock.

Ethiopia’s $4-billion dam has triggered tensions with Egypt as Cairo fears the dam will reduce water supplies from the River Nile to Egypt once operational.

Egypt relies almost completely on the Nile for irrigation and drinking water, and says it has “historic rights” to the river.

Ghandour’s comments on the absence of diplomatic salaries were illustrative of Sudan’s larger economic crisis, experts said.

Sudan’s overall economy was hit hard after the south separated from the north in 2011, taking with it about 75 percent of greater Sudan’s oil earnings.

A surging inflation rate of about 56 percent, regular fuel shortages and rising prices of food items have triggered sporadic anti-government protests in Khartoum.

“What they need is a bail out,” said Taylor.

“They are saddled with an enormous amount of debt. What he said is evidence of something much more serious.”

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