Sudan recalls its ambassador to Qatar for 'consultations'

The decision to summon the ambassador came after Sudan abruptly shut down the office of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera on Thursday.

Saturday 01/06/2019
A general view of the Corniche Towers is seen in Doha, Qatar February 5, 2019. (Reuters)
A general view of the Corniche Towers is seen in Doha, Qatar February 5, 2019. (Reuters)

KHARTOUM - Sudan's ambassador to Qatar has returned to Khartoum for consultations, the foreign ministry said Saturday.

The diplomat was summoned "to Khartoum for consultations and...will leave to Doha in the coming hours" to resume his work, Sudan's ministry said.

Earlier in the day, a spokesperson for Qatar's foreign ministry denied claims on social media the ambassador had been recalled and said it received an official notification only that he was on "short leave".

Sudan's decision to summon its ambassador came after the country abruptly shut down the office of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera on Thursday without giving a reason.

The news channel, which regularly broadcasts footage of demonstrations that have taken place in Sudan since December, is funded by the state of Qatar, a close ally of former president Omar al-Bashir.

Sudan's military in April ousted Bashir after months-long protests against his authoritarian, three-decade pro-Islamist rule.

The ruling military council's head Abdelfattah al-Burhan is currently in Saudi Arabia after travelling for a string of summits. He has already visited Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

The deputy head of the council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also visited Riyadh in May and met Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia and allies including the UAE and Egypt, broke off diplomatic ties with Doha in 2017, accusing it of supporting Islamic extremism and maintaining close relations with Iran.

Sudan's generals are negotiating with political parties and civil society groups the hand over of the reins of power to civilians. Frictions have not been however resolved. 

Thousands of protesters have remained camped out in front of the army headquarters in Khartoum to pressure the military to cede power.

(Agence France-Presse)