May 5, 2020 / 2:24 AM / 22 days ago

Sudan appoints first ambassador to U.S. for decades

KHARTOUM/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sudan has appointed its first ambassador to the United States for almost a quarter of a century, its foreign ministry said on Monday, in a move to normalise relations after decades of antagonism.

Both countries pledged to improve ties after the fall of veteran Islamist ruler Omar al-Bashir to an uprising a year ago.

The Sudanese foreign ministry said it had chosen Noureldin Sati, a veteran diplomat, as ambassador in Washington and that U.S. authorities had approved his nomination. The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Both countries had for almost a quarter of century appointed only charge d’affaires, a diplomatic rank under an ambassador, to run their embassies in Washington and Khartoum.

In December, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the two countries would exchange ambassadors.

The U.S. government added Sudan to its list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1993 over allegations that Bashir’s Islamist government was supporting Islamist militant groups, leaving Sudan ineligible for badly-needed debt relief and financing from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Last year, a senior State Department official said the United States might remove Sudan from the list but the U.S. Congress needs to ratify such a move.

Reporting by Khaled Abdelaziz and Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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