A top Sudanese general has vowed to back regional ally Saudi Arabia against “all threats and attacks” from its rival Iran during talks held with the kingdom’s powerful crown prince, Sudan’s ruling military council said.
The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Friday that General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, deputy head of Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council, met Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah a day earlier.
“Sudan is standing with the kingdom against all threats and attacks from Iran and Houthi militias,” Dagalo, who goes by the nickname Hemeti, told the crown prince during their meeting, the council said in a statement.
Hemeti also said the military council would continue deploying Sudanese troops to Yemen as part of a Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-aligned Houthi rebels.
The statement, the council’s first major foreign policy announcement, amounted to a continuation of the deposed leader’s policy.
Al-Bashir deployed troops to Yemen in 2015 as part of a major foreign policy shift that saw Khartoum break its decades-old ties with Iran and join the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.
“The Sudanese forces will remain in Yemen to defend the security of Saudi Arabia,” Hemedti said, according to the statement.
Hundreds of Sudanese soldiers and officers are fighting in Yemen and have often suffered casualties spurring calls at home for withdrawal.
Sudanese media reports claim that many of the troops deployed in Yemen are from the Rapid Support Force (RSF) paramilitary group, which is headed by Hemeti and is now part of the regular army.
According to the Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya news channel, Dagalo was accompanied by the Sudanese military’s official spokesperson, General Shams al-Din Kabashi.
The kingdom’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir attended the meeting as well as Minister of State Dr Musaed bin Mohammed al-Aiban.
Riyadh announced on Sunday it had deposited $250m in Sudan’s central bank as part of a support package for the country following the overthrow of al-Bashir.
“The ministry of finance has deposited 937.5 million Saudi riyals into the central bank of Sudan,” it said in a statement.
The move will strengthen Sudan’s “financial position, alleviate pressure on the Sudanese pound and achieve more stability in the exchange rate,” it added.
In April, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pledged $3bn in financial support for Sudan following the overthrow of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir, $500m of which would be injected into the African country’s central bank.
The remaining sum will be used to help provide food, medicine and petroleum products, according to the SPA.
Both Gulf nations have voiced backing for Sudan’s military rulers, who are facing calls from protesters and Western powers to cede power to a civilian transitional government.