Sudan says it has reduced troop numbers in Yemen to 5,000

Monday December 9 2019

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on November 4, 2019. PHOTO | AFP

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on November 4, 2019. He announced Sunday that his country has reduced its troop strength in Yemen from 15,000 to 5,000. PHOTO | AFP 

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Khartoum, AFP

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok announced Sunday that his country has reduced its troop strength in Yemen, where it has bolstered a Saudi-led military coalition supporting the government against rebels.

"Our troops in Yemen at the beginning were 15,000 and now they came down to 5,000," Hamdok said on arrival in Khartoum after a six-day visit to the US.

His announcement was the first time an official had provided figures on the number of Sudanese soldiers involved in Yemen's civil war.

"We believe that the solution in Yemen is a political solution," he added.

Hamdok assumed his role in a transition government in September, following the April ouster of president Omar al-Bashir.

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Bashir, who led the country with an iron-fist after taking power in a 1989 coup, made the decision to send soldiers to Yemen to help fight the Iran-backed Huthi rebels.

Subsequent Sudanese casualties -- images of whom circulated online -- prompted calls for their withdrawal.

Hamdok's US visit coincided with a spectacular warming in relations between Khartoum and Washington made possible by the fall of Bashir and the transition to a government comprised in part of protest leaders.

On Wednesday, Washington announced a decision to appoint an ambassador to Khartoum for the first time in 23 years.

In meetings with US officials, Hamdok discussed the possibility of Washington removing Sudan from its "state sponsors of terrorism" blacklist.

Sudan, which once hosted Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, has been on the list since 1993.

US lawmakers who met Hamdok said Sudan must reach a settlement with families of the victims of the 1998 Al-Qaeda bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania as well as the 2000 attack against the USS Cole.

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