Khartoum- Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir relieved on Wednesday the state presidential minister and director of the president’s offices Taha Osman al-Hussein amid conflicting reports on the reasons behind the move.
Hussein, who is a security general, had been appointed in June 2015 as state presidential minister and director of the president’s offices at the presidential palace and the council of ministers.
On Wednesday evening, al-Bashir issued a presidential decree appointing Hatim Hassan Bakhit as state presidential minister and director of the president’s offices. However, the decree didn’t mention whether or not Hussein would retain his ministerial position.
Reliable sources said that al-Hussein, who gained a reputation as being the most influential person within the president’s inner circle, was informed of his removal verbally before he was allowed to leave for Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah.
The reason behind the sacking of Hussein is not yet known. Also, unconfirmed reports say he was arrested on Tuesday evening after he sought to travel to Saudi Arabia.
During the last couple of years, al-Hussein played a pivotal role within the presidency and appeared to be the person behind important decisions especially after Bashir named him as personal envoy to a number of countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Hussein’s last assignment was his participation in the Arab-US Islamic Summit in Riyadh last May where he represented Bashir, whose participation was vetoed by Washington.
His powers have significantly infringed on the role of the foreign ministry on several occasions.
In 2016 he conveyed Bashir’s decision to cut ties with Iran to the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman without the knowledge of the foreign ministry officials who read the news on media.
Also, following an unannounced visit to Washington last December in which he met with a number of congressmen and former President Jimmy Carter, he claimed he was the person behind the US decision to ease the 19-year sanctions on Sudan.