U.S., Sudan to exchange ambassadors for first time since 1996

Dec. 4 (UPI) — The United States and Sudan will exchange ambassadors for the first time in 23 years, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday.

The elevation in diplomacy was revealed during Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s first visit to Washington. It comes after the August election of Hamdok, following protests leading to the end of the authoritarian, 20-year leadership of President Omar al-Bashir. Bashir was deposed in a coup in 2019, his term marked by oppression, genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region and human rights abuses.

“Since his August 21 appointment, Prime Minister Hamdok has led Sudan’s transitional government, installed a civilian cabinet, and made key personnel changes to break with the policies and practices of the previous regime,” Pompeo said in a statement Wednesday. “He has demonstrated a commitment to peace negotiations with armed opposition groups, established a commission of inquiry to investigate violence against protesters, and committed to holding democratic elections at the end of the 39-month transition period. The United States remains a steadfast partner of the Sudanese people and their pursuit of peace, security, prosperity, democracy, and equality.”

The United States first established diplomatic relations with Sudan in 1956, broken by Sudan in 1967 after the start of the Arab-Israeli War and re-established in 1972. The U.S. designated Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993 after it established links with international terrorist organizations. The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum suspended operations in 1996 and was reopened in 2002.