German Foreign Minister Maas arrives in Sudan

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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas arrived Tuesday in Sudan which is ushering in a long-awaited transition from decades of autocratic rule under ousted leader Omar al-Bashir.

The visit by Maas comes after Sudan swore in a new prime minister and a civilian-majority ruling body to steer the country through a three-year transitional period.

The steps toward transition are part a power-sharing deal signed on August 17 by an umbrella group that led months of protests against veteran leader Bashir, and the generals who seized power after ousting him.

“Sudan stands at a turning point of its history,” Maas said in a statement ahead of his visit.

The top German diplomat is expected to meet with the newly-appointed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the head of Sudan’s ruling body, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

Maas said he was looking forward to holding talks with representatives from the protest movement “to express my highest appreciation to them.”

“We want Sudan to be able to seize this historic chance and, after years of isolation, to receive the necessary support from the international community,” he added.

Sudan has long suffered a pariah status especially due to its listing by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993.

The designation has damaged its economy and hampered foreign investment.

After his visit to Sudan, Maas is due to head to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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