Washington Prepares to Lift Economic Sanctions against Sudan

Sudanese flag

Sudan Calls for End to Quarter Century of US Sanctions AFP 2017 ASHRAF SHAZLY

The United States confirmed this Friday (6) that it will lift its economic sanctions against Sudan.

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

"Ties between Sudan and USA date back to before Sudan's independence and we are looking forward to fully normalizing relations and we feel that the Americans are now having the same desire", the top diplomat said.

The negotiations required Sudan to cease internal hostilities, improve humanitarian access throughout the country, end destabilizing activity in neighboring South Sudan, build and deepen cooperation with the USA on counterterrorism, and improving regional security.

Nauert further explained, "This action came about through a focused, 16-month diplomatic effort to make progress with Sudan in these key areas".

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

"It sends the wrong message to lift these sanctions permanently when Sudan has made so little progress on human rights", said Andrea Prasow, deputy director of the Washington office of Human Rights Watch.

According to a second administration official, who also briefed reporters on the policy change, Sudan has pledged not to pursue arms deals with Pyongyang going forward.

The United States is preparing to lift the decades-long economic sanctions on Sudan after it has seen improvements in the country's human rights and progress in counter-terrorism measures, a USA official said yesterday.

Sanctions on Sudan were temporarily eased under the presidency of Barack Obama.

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The potential move would mark a huge turn in relations between the USA and Sudan, which first had sanctions imposed on it by Washington in 1997.

Two weeks ago, Sudan welcomed the U.S.' decision to remove it from the list of countries whose citizens are banned from entering the U.S.

The United Nations says 300,000 people have died in the conflict and 2.7 million have fled their homes.

"We see this as an important milestone", said the USA official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity in keeping with State Department procedures. The sanctions were later reinforced due to the civil conflict in the Darfur area.

A Reuters report said that President Donald Trump's administration is expected to announce its decision as early as Friday, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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