Saudi, UAE offer Sudan 540,000 tonnes of wheat

Riyadh (AFP) –


Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are providing Sudan with 540,000 tonnes of wheat as part of aid promised following longtime leader Omar al-Bashir's overthrow, their state media said Wednesday.

Both countries "allocated 540,000 tonnes of wheat to the Sudanese people, meeting the population's basic food requirements for three months", the Saudi Press Agency and the UAE's WAM news agency said.

"The first and second batch comprising of 140,000 tonnes of wheat have already been shipped."

The wheat was part of $3 billion worth of aid pledged by the oil-rich Gulf states in April after Bashir's ouster.

Both countries promised to inject $500 million into the Sudanese central bank and $2.5 billion to help provide food, medicine and petroleum products.

They did not specify if the money was a gift or a loan.

Sudan plays a key role in the regional interests of Saudi Arabia and its allies, siding with Riyadh against Shiite Iran and providing troops in the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen's war.

Both Gulf nations have voiced backing for Sudan's military rulers, who faced calls from protesters to cede power to a civilian transitional government.

On Sunday, Sudan's ruling generals and protest leaders signed a hard-won constitutional declaration, paving the way for a transition to civilian rule after months of demonstrations and violence.

The deal was welcomed by Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, which hailed it as "a quantum leap that will transition Sudan to stability and security".