November 14, 2017 / 7:06 AM / in 4 days

Sudan and Uganda announce direct flights between both countries

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Sudanese carrier Tarco Air is to start direct flights between Khartoum and Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport as the two countries move to capitalise on warming relations and boost trade.

A communique issued late on Monday after talks between Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Sudan’s President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir who was visiting the East African country, said the direct flights would “promote trade, tourism and investment” between both countries.

According to its website, Tarco Air is a private Sudanese domestic carrier established in 2009.

Both leaders also discussed the need to exploit commercial opportunities spurred by the United States’ lifting of economic sanctions on Sudan.

The U.S. lifted long-standing sanctions against Sudan last month, saying it had made progress fighting terrorism and easing humanitarian distress.

Sudan mainly imports coffee from Uganda which is Africa’s largest exporter of the commodity. According to Uganda government-run sector regulator, Sudan is the second biggest importer of Ugandan coffee after the European Union.

For years relations between Uganda and Sudan were icy, undermined by mutual suspicions over supporting rebel groups on each other’s territory.

Uganda accused Sudan of offering succour to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) warlord Joseph Kony while Sudan said Uganda was lending support to SPLA, the rebel group that was fighting for an Independent South Sudan.

Relations have, however, gradually warmed in recent years after South Sudan gained independence and the LRA was driven from its bases in northern Uganda to the jungles of Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Michael Perry

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