WASHINGTON — President Reagan, assured that the Sudan is taking necessary steps toward economic recovery, agreed today in talks with Sudanese President Jaafar Numeiri to release $67 million in U.S. aid.
The announcement was made by White House spokesman Larry Speakes after Numeiri briefed Reagan and other top U.S. officials on the comprehensive economic reforms undertaken by his government.
The $67 million represents the balance of the economic assistance Congress provided for fiscal year 1984 that ended last Sept. 30. The release of $114 million in fiscal 1985 aid remains the subject of negotiation.
Helping the Refugees
Emerging from the half-hour White House meeting, Numeiri said he was assured by President Reagan today that the United States "will do what it can to help Sudan and Africa and all of the refugees."
Numeiri turned away and walked to his waiting limousine before reporters could question him about plans by professional workers in Khartoum to stage a general strike Wednesday in support of unionized doctors who are trying to topple his 15-year-old regime.
He said Sudan, in the fourth year of a drought, has taken in 1.76 million refugees from neighboring countries, more than a million of them from the rebel-held Ethiopian provinces of Eritrea and Tigray. He said 4,000 arrive daily.
'Beyond Breaking Point'
"This influx of refugees has strained our resources beyond the breaking point," he said. "If it were not for the generosity of countries like the United States and private relief agencies, many, many thousands of people would have starved to death."
He said Reagan, "with the generosity typical of the American people . . . assured me that this country will do what it can to help Sudan and Africa and all the refugees."
Before leaving Khartoum for today's meeting with Reagan and other matters, Numeiri imposed a series of U.S.-backed austerity measures, including the removal of government subsidies on bread and gasoline.
The resulting price increases touched off anti-government rioting that some U.S. officials believe could lead to the most serious challenge yet to Numeiri's 16-year rule.