Sudan welcomes U.S. move to clear $1 billion in arrears to World Bank

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FILE PHOTO: A national flag of Sudan is seen outside in Washington

CAIRO (Reuters) - Sudan's finance ministry said on Wednesday that it welcomed the U.S. Treasury's move to clear $1 billion in Sudanese arrears to the World Bank after its removal from Washington's list of terrorism sponsors.

The move allows Sudan to access $1.5 billion annually in funds from the International Development Association (IDA), which is an arm of the World Bank.

Sudan's presence on the list had cut it off from much-needed financial assistance and foreign investment in the midst of an economic crisis marked by shortages in wheat and fuel.

Acting finance minister Heba Ahmed said on Monday that the U.S. Export-Import Bank would also provide guarantees to American investors from the private sector that could initially total $1 billion, after Washington removed Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Ahmed also said U.S. support would extend to the provision of wheat and other commodities over four years.

(Reporting by Nafisa Eltahir; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Aidan Lewis and Andrew Cawthorne)