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U.S., Sudan second phase of dialogue to kick off soon: diplomat

Sudan Defence Minister receives U.S. Chargé d'affaires on 10 June 2018 (ST Photo)
June 10, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The United States Chargé d’Affaires in Khartoum, Steven Koutsis, on Sunday said the second phase of dialogue between the U.S. and Sudan would start soon.

Sudan’s Defence Minister Awad Ibn Ouf on Sunday received Koutsis and the military attaché at the U.S. embassy in Khartoum Lieut. Col. Adam Matthew Cordish at his office.

The meeting discussed several issues of common concern and the regional and international developments as well as ways to enhance regional security and stability, according to a statement issued by the ministry of defence.

Ibn Ouf underscored the importance of continued contacts between the two sides to promote trust and enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.

The U.S. says they had reports about continued contacts between Sudan and North Korea over military cooperation, but Khartoum dismissed these claims.

For his part, Koutsis expressed his country’s appreciation for the efforts being exerted by the Sudanese government to promote international peace and security.

He said the first phase of dialogue between Sudan and the U.S. has achieved significant successes on the five-track engagement plan, pointing out that the second phase would start soon.

In October 2017, the U.S. Administration permanently lifted 20-year-old economic sanctions against Sudan citing positive actions on humanitarian access and counter-terrorism.

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.

However, Washington left other sanctions in place for the time being, including those against individuals with arrest warrants related to atrocities committed during the conflict in Darfur.

Further, it didn’t remove Sudan’s name from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The two countries are engaged in a five-track process towards full normalization of relations.

The process includes the fight against terrorism, Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Sudan’s role in the peace process in South Sudan, Sudan’s peace and the humanitarian situation in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile 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)