The United States has invited the head of Sudan’s sovereign council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to Washington, as the two countries forge stronger bilateral ties following decades of hostility.
Sudan’s civilian prime minister Abdalla Hamdok visited Washington last month, and Burhan will be one of few African leaders that have been invited to discuss bilateral ties with Donald Trump’s administration.
In this article, we review the trips that African heads of state have made to Washington at the invitation of the Trump administration.
Burhan was invited by U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a phone call. In December, Pompeo said the two countries planned to exchange ambassadors after a 23-year hiatus, demonstrating the warmer ties since president Omar al-Bashir was ousted.
Sudan’s transitional council said Burhan’s visit is designed to ‘to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries and ways of developing them’.
While the date for the visit is not yet known, the council said Burhan “promised to fulfil it soon”.
Burhan, who is the de-facto head of state in Sudan has visited several neighbouring countries and Russia.
Last week, a top United Nations official asked the United States to removed Sudan from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, arguing that the international community must support the nation’s recovery.
Sudan was added to the list in 1993, over allegations Bashir’s Islamist government was supporting terrorist groups. The listing makes Sudan technically ineligible for debt relief and financing from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
In April, Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was the first African head of state to meet Trump in Washington.
The two countries work together in the fight against terrorism, with the United States backing Sisi with military aid.
“I just want to let everybody know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President Sisi. He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt,” Trump said in an Oval Office meeting with the Egyptian leader.
Last year, Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari met president Trump at the White House as the two leaders discussed bilateral ties in the areas of economic growth, counter-terrorism and democracy.
Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta met Trump at the White House in August last year.
The two countries’ first ladies have a strong collaboration, as they have convergent interests in uplifting children.
Ethiopia’s reformist prime minister Abiy Ahmed also visited Washington where he held talks with the vice president Mike Pence at the White House.
Honored to meet with Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia today at the— Vice President Mike Pence (VP) July 27, 2018
WhiteHouse. I applaud his historic reform efforts, including improving respect for human rights, reforming the business environment, and making peace with Eritrea. pic.twitter.com/kCXjHaQ6Zb
Trump, who is yet to visit the African continent, has pledged to visit Ethiopia and Egypt.