Sudan diplomats unpaid for months: minister

File photo showing Sudan's FM Ibrahim Ghandour. (AN photo)
Updated 18 April 2018
0

Sudan diplomats unpaid for months: minister

KHARYOUM: A cash shortfall has seen several Sudanese foreign diplomats go unpaid for months and they have been seeking to return home as a result, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said Wednesday.
In a speech to lawmakers, Ghandour said his ministry had also been unable to pay the rent for several diplomatic missions across the world for the same reason.
“For months Sudanese diplomats have not received salaries and there is also a delay in paying rent for diplomatic missions,” Ghandour said, without specifying which ones.
Sudan has been facing financial difficulties amid an acute shortage of hard foreign currency that has seen the east African country’s economic crisis worsen.
Ghandour said he himself had been in touch with the governor of the country’s central bank but has failed to secure funds to pay the diplomats.
“The situation has now turned dangerous, which is why I am talking about it publicly,” he said.
Ghandour said there was a feeling among some government officials that paying wages to diplomats and rent for diplomatic missions were not a priority.
“Some ambassadors and diplomats want to return to Khartoum now... because of the difficulties faced by them and their families,” he said.
When asked by reporters for more details after his speech, Ghandour said the wages of diplomats and rents of missions amounted to about $30 million annually, while the ministry’s total annual budget was about $69 million.
Sudan has been hit hard by an acute shortage of foreign currency that has seen the pound plunging against the dollar, forcing the central bank to devalue it two times since January.
Expectations of a quick economic revival were high in the aftermath of October 12 when Washington lifted its decades-old sanctions imposed on Khartoum.
But officials say the situation has not changed at all as international banks continue to be wary of doing business with Sudanese banks.
The country’s overall economy had been hit particularly hard after the south separated from the north in 2011, taking with it about 75 percent of oil earnings.
A surging inflation rate of about 56 percent, regular fuel shortages and rising prices of food items have often triggered sporadic anti-government protests in Khartoum and some other towns.


Iran seizes British tanker in Strait of Hormuz for breaking ‘maritime rules’

Updated 49 sec ago
0

Iran seizes British tanker in Strait of Hormuz for breaking ‘maritime rules’

TEHRAN: Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps announced on Friday they had confiscated a British tanker in the strategic Strait of Hormuz for breaking "international maritime rules."

The Stena Impero tanker "was confiscated by the Revolutionary Guards at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organisation when passing through the strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules," the Guards' official website Sepahnews announced.

The UK government convened an emergency COBRA meeting to formulate its response and a foreign ministry spokesperson said: "We are urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf."

The Stena company responsible for the ship also released a statement, which read: "Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management can confirm that at approximately 1600 BST on 19th July, UK registered vessel Stena Impero (built 2018, 49,683 DWT) was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters. We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran.

"There are 23 seafarers aboard.  There have been no reported injuries and their safety is of primary concern to both owners and managers. The priority of both vessel owner Stena Bulk and ship manager Northern Marine Management is the safety and welfare of the crew.

"Northern Marine Management has not been able to establish contact directly with the vessel since it was notified of the incident at approximately 1600 Today, 19th July 2019. We are in close contact with UK government authorities."