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Sudan, U.S. discuss preparations for second phase of normalization talks

U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Steven Koutsis (L) received by the Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Abdel-Ghani al-Nai'm on Sunday January 29, 2017 (ST Photo)

May 11, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Abdel-Ghani al-Nai’im and Special Advisor in the Office of the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Andrew Burnett, have discussed ongoing preparations to launch the second phase of dialogue between the two countries.

On Thursday, al-Nai’im and Burnett met at Sudan’s Foreign Ministry premises in the presence of the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission to Khartoum Ervin Massinga.

In a press release seen by Sudan Tribune, the Foreign Ministry said the meeting discussed the five-track engagement plan and the ongoing work to launch the second phase of the constructive engagement between the two countries.

According to the press release, Burnett praised Sudan’s cooperation on issues of the second phase particularly those pertaining to religious freedoms, North Korea and positive efforts to achieve stability in South Sudan.

For his part, al-Nai’im stressed the need to achieve tangible progress that would be reflected in the lives of the Sudanese such as allowing banking transfers and removing obstacles hindering trade exchange between the two countries.

In October 2017, Washington decided to lift economic sanctions on Sudan in line with a five-track framework reached by the two countries in December 2016. Khartoum, accordingly, authorized humanitarian access to civilians in Darfur and unilaterally declared a cessation of hostilities in Darfur, the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

The two countries agreed to resume talks on the normalization of bilateral talks and the lift of remaining sanctions particularly Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorist groups. The measure is crucial to get a debt relief and allow Sudan to get international aid to build its economic infrastructure.

In November 2017, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, John Sullivan, was in Khartoum to launch the second phase of the normalization process and pointed to the need for reforms on human rights and religious freedom. Also, the two countries agreed to engage in written exchanges for Sudan’s removal from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

(ST)