Russia, Turkey Offered Sudan Economic Help, Minister Says

(Bloomberg) -- Russia and Turkey have offered Sudan economic assistance, the African nation’s oil minister said, as the government tries to salve a fiscal crisis that’s sparked a month of protests.

“Many friendly countries have expressed that they’re willing to help us, especially Turkey and Russia, and they promised to provide any assistance we need including financing and oil,” minister Azhari Abdalla told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Khartoum. He didn’t confirm if Sudan would accept the two nations’ offers, while saying that the United Arab Emirates had given help.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir returned from an official trip to Qatar on Wednesday. The gas-rich emirate has “confirmed its constant help and support to Sudan in the current situation,” Foreign Minister Al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed told reporters at Khartoum’s airport, without mentioning any specific assistance.

Soaring living costs and shortages of fuel and other commodities have spurred a wave of protests across Sudan in which at least 24 people have died since Dec. 19. It’s one of the greatest challenges to al-Bashir since he took power in a 1989 coup.

Abdalla said Sudan has received assistance from the U.A.E., without giving details. A Sudanese newspaper and a ruling party lawmaker on Friday said the Gulf nation was providing Sudan with $300 million in financing and 1.12 million tons of fuel.

Sudan also expects to reach an agreement to reschedule its debt with unspecified Chinese companies by the end of January, he said, without giving any figures.

The Paris-based Sudan Tribune said in September that Sudan owes China more than $2 billion, as it reported Beijing’s writing-off of all government loans provided before 2016. Sudan’s total external debt was $52.4 billion in that year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

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