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Ahmadinejad visit to bolster Iran-Sudan ties

KHARTOUM, Sept 26 – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is due to arrive in Khartoum late on Sunday for a brief visit aimed at bolstering political and economic ties between the allied Islamic nations.

“The visit will strengthen the excellent relations between the two countries, and joint cooperation particularly in the economic and development sector,” Iran’s ambassador in Khartoum Jawad Torkabadi told Sudan Radio.

Ahmadinejad heads a delegation of government officials that include Iran’s ministers of energy and higher education, as well as a number of economic advisors, he added.

They are due to begin talks with their Sudanese counterparts at 10:00 am (0700 GMT) “on bilateral relations and common interests between the two countries and ways of developing them,” Sudan’s official SUNA news agency reported.

The visit comes three months after Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir travelled to Tehran to attend a counter-terrorism summit, which also included the leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Tajikistan.

Khartoum is urgently seeking financial support in the face of mounting economic woes, which include soaring inflation, crippling foreign debts and the loss of much of its oil revenues, following the secession of South Sudan in July.

Iran is one of Sudan’s key investors, and pledged $200 million to fund various projects in the country’s impoverished eastern region late last year, at a donors conference hosted by Kuwait.

Iran and Sudan are both heavily sanctioned by the United States, which kept them on its list of alleged state sponsors of terrorism, in an annual report published by the State Department last month.


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