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Pompeo becomes 1st U.S. secretary of state to visit Sudan since 2005

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is greeted at Khartoum International Airport in Khartoum, Sudan, on Tuesday. Photo courtesy Secretary of State Mike Pompeo/Twitter<br>
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is greeted at Khartoum International Airport in Khartoum, Sudan, on Tuesday. Photo courtesy Secretary of State Mike Pompeo/Twitter

Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Mike Pompeo on Tuesday became the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Sudan in 15 years and pledged support for its new civilian government.

Pompeo met with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Sovereign Council Chair Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Burhan.

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"Great to be in Khartoum for meetings with the civilian-led transitional government," Pompeo tweeted Tuesday. "The democratic transition underway is a once in a generation opportunity for the people of Sudan. Looking forward to discussing how to deepen the U.S.-Sudan relationship."

Sudan has been in a transitional period since autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir was ousted last year.

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Upon arrival in Khartoum, Pompeo became the first secretary of state to visit Sudan since Condoleezza Rice in 2005. On the visit, he was also expected to discuss Sudan's potential removal from the United States' list of state sponsors of terror.

There have been discussions about potentially removing Sudan from the list and United Nations Secretary-general Antonio Guterres pushed for the move in February.

Sudan has been on the blacklist since 1993. The only other three nations on the list are Iran, North Korea and Syria.

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Pompeo's visit is another step toward improved relations between Washington and Khartoum. In May, Sudan appointed Nour Eddin Satti as its first ambassador to the United States in 23 years. Satti was ambassador to France in the 1990s and previously worked as a U.N. peacekeeper in Congo and Rwanda.

After leaving Sudan, Pompeo will travel to Manama to meet with King Hamad Al Khalifa and Crown Prince of Bahrain Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. He will then visit the United Arab Emirates to meet with foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi.

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