Sudan diplomats unpaid for months: minister

File photo showing Sudan's FM Ibrahim Ghandour. (AN photo)
Updated 18 April 2018
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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 lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

Updated 23 April 2019
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Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

  • President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a foreign terrorist group
  • Tehran reacted to the designation by naming the US Central Command a terrorist organization

DUBAI: Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday requiring the government take firm steps to respond to “terrorist actions” by US forces, state TV reported, retaliating against Washington’s blacklisting of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist group, in an unprecedented step that drew Iranian condemnation and raised concerns about retaliatory attacks on US forces.
Tehran reacted to the designation, which took effect on April 15, by naming the US Central Command (CENTCOM) a terrorist organization and the US government a sponsor of terrorism.
“The bill authorizes the government to take firm and retaliatory measures against terrorist activities of American forces that endangers Iran’s interests,” TV reported.
“The government should use legal, political and diplomatic measures in response to the American actions.”
Highly loyal to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the IRGC is a powerful force which controls much of the Iranian economy and wields political influence in the country’s faction-ridden clerical establishment.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency said some 168 lawmakers out of 210 present at the parliament voted for the bill.
Tensions have been on the rise between Tehran and Washington since last year, when Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.
In recent years, there have been periodic confrontations between the IRGC and US military in the Gulf.
The new chief commander of the IRGC Hossein Salami, appointed after the US blacklisting, has warned in the past that Iran could use its cruise and ballistic missiles and drones, mines, speedboats, and missile launchers in the Gulf area to confront the United States.
The Trump administration, which has taken a hard line on Iran, said in a statement on Monday that the president has decided not to reissue waivers in May allowing importers to buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the heightening economic pressure on Iran showed that Washington was in panic.
“Escalating #EconomicTERRORISM against Iranians exposes panic & desperation of US regime — and chronic failures of its client co-conspirators,” Zarif Tweeted on Tuesday.
A commander of Iran’s IRGC said on Monday that Tehran would block all exports through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if Tehran is barred from using the waterway, where a fifth of global oil consumption passes on its way from Middle East producers to major markets.