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Sudan expects removal of its name from U.S. terror list soon

Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan, third from left, met with Sudan's foreign minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, fourth from right, in Khartoum on 16 November 2017. (Photo AFP/ Ebrahim Hamid )
October 7, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s parliamentary subcommittee on foreign affairs said the second phase of normalization talks with the United States is proceeding smoothly expecting the country’s name would be lifted from the list of states sponsors of terrorism soon.

Deputy Head of the parliamentary subcommittee on foreign affairs, Mutwakil Mahmoud al-Tijani, stressed the need for dialogue with the U.S. in order to promote bilateral relations and reintegrate the country in the international community.

He pointed out that the first phase of dialogue with Washington was constructive and has led to lifting the economic sanctions imposed on Sudan since 1997.

Al-Tihani underlined the need to conduct the second phase of dialogue in a quiet atmosphere away from any internal or external effects in order to achieve positive results.

He pointed to positive U.S. reports about Sudan including the terrorism report besides recent decisions of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), expecting the outcome of the second phase of dialogue would serve the interests of the country.

In its 2017 Country Reports on Terrorism released last month, the U.S. affirmed its positive rating of Sudan’s record in combating terrorism but kept it on its blacklist of states that sponsor terrorism along with three others.

Also, the UNHRC last month renewed the mandate of the independent expert saying it would terminate when a human rights office in Sudan be operational.

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.

The decision was in line with the "Five Track Engagement Plan", in which Khartoum agreed to a cessation of hostilities with the armed groups, opened unfettered humanitarian access in the conflict-affected areas, agreed to support efforts for peace in South Sudan and developed cooperation with the U.S. to counter terrorism in the region.

However, Washington didn’t remove Sudan’s name from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. In addition, it keeps in place targeted sanctions against individuals with arrest warrants related to atrocities committed during the conflict in Darfur.

Sudan was designated a state sponsor of terrorism by the State Department in 1993.

Sudanese officials insist on the need to remove Sudan from the list of terror states, pointing out that the country cannot benefit from the debt relief and international development aid without this measure.

But Washington insists on the need to improve Human rights, religious freedom and other freedoms in a way to create a conducive environment for the opposition group to take part in the constitutional process after the signing of a peace agreement with the armed groups.

Last month, Foreign Minister El-Dirdeiry Mohamed Ahmed met U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan in New York on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.

In a statement issued after the meeting, Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said the two sides reached an agreement on the launch of the second phase of dialogue between the two countries.