Friday, 20 October, 2017

Sudan sanctions: United States lifts most economic restrictions after two decades

Women and children wait to be registered prior to a food distribution carried out by the United Nations World Food Programme in Thonyor Leer state South Sudan REUTERS Siegfried Modola Five Million Sudanese Currently in Middle of Famine as War Rages Drought Approaches
Wilma Wheeler | 08 October, 2017, 00:43

Sudan's State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hamed Momtaz told Reuters on Wednesday in Khartoum: "Sudan has fulfilled all the necessary conditions relating to the roadmap, and the U.S. administration is a witness to that and therefore we expect the sanctions to be lifted".

Officials cited improvement on human rights, on the mitigation of conflicts within Sudan and progress on counter-terrorism for the decision.

"We have received praise from both the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) for our efforts in this regard", Ahmed Abu Zeid told ANA.

The next step is for the administration of President Donald Trump to notify the Congress about the decision so that it takes the necessary steps to lift the sanctions and suspend the trade and economic embargo and other penalties that the U.S. had imposed on Sudan. Officials in Sudan say that since the September 11, 2001, attacks, the Sudanese have been cooperating with USA intelligence. Sudan was the only country to be removed from the new list, which also added restrictions on several additional countries.

In justifying the decision, the administration will assert that Sudan has continued making progress on several areas of concern, officials said.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir remains wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes.

Sanctions were initially imposed on Sudan in 1997 due to its role as a host and backer of terrorist groups including al-Qaida, which was based in Khartoum between 1991 and 1996.

Washington- The US State Department announced on Friday that it has lifted a large number of sanctions that it had imposed on Sudan 20 years ago, saying the decision was the result of Khartoum's cooperation in fighting terrorism and easing humanitarian distress. Sudan has no formal relations with North Korea, and, as a senior administration official noted, the two states do not maintain embassies in each other's capitals.

Citizens of Sudan were removed from the U.S. travel ban restrictions last month.

While the USA has yet to comment on the matter, Sudan's State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hamed Momtaz, indicated to Reuters that an agreement has been reached with the U.S. over the sanctions.

The United Nations says 300,000 people have died in the conflict and 2.7 million have fled their homes. Washington layered on more sanctions in 2006 for what it said was complicity in the violence in Sudan's Darfur region.

"We see this as an important milestone", said the USA official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity in keeping with State Department procedures.

In a statement Sudan's foreign Ministry said the country welcomes the positive decision taken by American President Donald Trump.

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