USA will lift some sanctions on Sudan

Violet Powell
October 8, 2017

Egypt has welcomed a US decision to lift sanctions on Sudan despite Cairo's tense ties with Khartoum over a border dispute.

Human rights groups have opposed the easing of sanctions.

"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 decision by US President Donald Trump's administrations follows a process that was started by his predecessor, Barack Obama, at the end of his tenure. The U.S. has been calling on Sudan to expand humanitarian access, improve human rights, cooperate on counterterrorism and reinforce a cease-fire in conflict areas.

It will also mark a major turnaround for the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Cairo has repeatedly denied claims that it supported a continuation of sanctions, despite mounting tensions between Egypt and Sudan this year, with media outlets in both countries exchanging attacks.

The Sudanese government has also been on Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1993, when the country briefly provided safe harbor for Osama Bin Laden and his then-nascent al-Qaeda.

"It's a serious mistake for these sanctions to be lifted permanently when Sudan has made no progress on human rights", Andrea Prasow, deputy director of the Washington office of Human Rights Watch, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

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They all look forward to go back. "If they accept us as Rohingya, and said they would not harm us, we would return", he told AFP at a refugee registration booth.

The US extended the sanctions regime a decade later over the Darfur conflict.

The United States first imposed sanctions on Sudan in 1997, including a trade embargo and blocking the government's assets, for human rights violations and terrorism concerns.

The Trump administration also recently removed Sudan from its travel ban.

Bashir, who has ruled Sudan since 1989, is accused by the ourt of committing genocide in Darfur.

Central bank governor Hazem Abdel Kader said removing sanctions would allow Sudan's banking system to "reintegrate into the global economy", and Agriculture Minister Abdul Latif Ajimi said it would bring exchange rate stability that would boost agricultural development, according to state news agency SUNA.

The United Nations says 300,000 people have died in the conflict and 2.7 million have fled their homes. President George W. Bush added yet more sanctions in 2006 in response to Sudanese government militias' actions in the Darfur region, where the global community roundly condemned widespread crimes against humanity.

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

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