Sudan’s new ambassador to Japan said Wednesday he hopes Tokyo will support Sudan’s efforts to have economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations lifted in the wake of its political and economic reforms.

During his visit to The Japan Times, Awad Mursi Taha also emTahaphasized the importance of economic assistance for the African nation, which is beset by financial problems.

The ambassador added, however, that it is “understandable” that the current economic slump has forced Japan to trim its ODA budget.

Taha said Sudan, which has in the past been criticized by the international community for its links with terrorist groups, is now doing its best to combat terrorism.

The ambassador added that the country has changed politically and economically since 1992, when Japan’s ODA was suspended.

Sudan has reformed its political arena via the introduction of political parties and is also promoting private enterprise, he said.

Sudan now aims to lure more foreign investment, with the country possessing an abundance of natural resources such as oil and minerals such as iron, gold and copper.

Taha said he hopes major Japanese firms will start investing in Sudan, providing technical support to utilize these resources.

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