The foreign minister of Sudan has revealed that his country is unable to pay many of its diplomats abroad while some diplomatic missions across the world could be closed over rent problems.
Ibrahim Ghandour said Wednesday that several Sudanese foreign diplomats were seeking to return home as a result of the government’s inability to pay them for months.
“Some ambassadors and diplomats want to return to Khartoum now… because of the difficulties faced by them and their families,” Ghandour said in a speech to lawmakers.
The top diplomat said his ministry was also unable to pay the rent for several diplomatic missions across the world.
“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 missions were affected.
The minister accused some government officials of neglecting the diplomatic missions, saying they had a feeling that paying wages to diplomats and rent for diplomatic missions were not a priority.
“The situation has now turned dangerous, which is why I am talking about it publicly,” said Ghandour.
Elaborating on the details of the issue, Ghandour told reporters after the speech that his ministry’s total annual budget was about $69 million while the wages of diplomats and rents of missions amounted to about $30 million.
Sudan has been hit by widening economic problems over the past years, especially since South Sudan separated from the north in 2011, taking with it about 75 percent of oil earnings.
The country has tried to rely on foreign aids, especially those coming from rich Arab countries of the Persian Gulf region. The Sudanese military has even contributed to an ongoing military operation in Yemen led by Saudi Arabia, an apparent sign it is seeking increased funds from Riyadh to shore up its finances back at home.
Taking sides with the Saudis and the Western governments in certain regional conflicts also convinced the administration of US President Donald Trump to lift its decades-old sanctions imposed on Khartoum, a move that sparked high expectations of a quick economic revival.
However, those hopes were dashed as officials say international banks are still reluctant to do business with Sudanese counterparts, leaving the African country with a grim economic outlook.