17 March 2014

Sudan: UAE, Saudi Arabia Halt Import of a Number of Goods From Sudan

Khartoum — The United Arab Emirates (UAE) returned a shipment of gold to Sudan a week ago. Saudi Arabia has halted the import of Sudanese livestock, and a number of ships were prohibited to unload after their arrival to the Saudi port of Jeddah during the past few days.

The decisions seem to come in the context of an economic boycott advocated by some Arab countries against Sudan.

Earlier in March, Sudanese officials dismissed rumours that aviation companies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE intend to halt flights to Sudan from September onwards. Reportely, Saudi Arabian Airlines intends to halt its flights because of the high fuel prices and difficulties within the Sudanese banking system which affects airfreight and the export and import trade.

Saudi Arabian banks as well as some European financial institutions suspended their dealings with Sudan as of 28 February.

Relations between Sudan and Saudi Arabia have deteriorated during the last years. Last August, Saudi Arabia rejected to give permission to enter its airspace to an aircraft carrying President Omer Al Bashir to Iran. Saudi king Abdullah bin Abdulaziz did not meet with Al Bashir, when the latter visited Mecca to perform the Muslim pilgrimage last year, though he did have meetings with the Turkish and Pakistani presidents who were also performing the pilgrimage.

Sudan has allowed Iranian warships to dock in Port Sudan three times over the past two years. The Sunni Arab Gulf States appear to have grown weary of Shiite Iran's influence in the Middle East.

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