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US Official: Sudan’s removal from terror list depends on settlement of several files

August 7, 2019 - U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale said on Wednesday that his country still needs to settle some issues with Sudan before considering removing it from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

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David Hale US undersecretary for political affairs in Somalia on 5 August 2019 (Photo Somali Govt)

The United States has placed Sudan on the list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1993. Although the current U.S. administration decided last October to end harsh economic sanctions on the country, it still insists on keeping the east African country on the terror list.

Despite the ouster of President Omer al-Bashir and his totalitarian regime that had harboured Osama bin Laden and other terrorist groups, Washington seems entends to deal with the new civilian regime that would be established in Sudan with the same set of conditions it put on the negotiating table with the former regime.

"There are a number of things that we look forward to engaging with a civilian-led government in Sudan," US Deputy Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale told a news conference in Khartoum on Wednesday.

These included human rights, religious freedom and counter-terrorism efforts, as well as “promoting internal peace, political stability and economic recovery in Sudan”, he further said.

The visiting senior diplomat pointed out that Washington’s decision to suspend discussions on the lifting of terror list with Khartoum is still valid. But he did not elaborate on when and under what conditions talks would resume with the new government.

Washington had launched talks with the al-Bashir’s government on the terror list last November but suspended it in April after the collapse of his regime.

However, he said that the United States is working to help the Sudanese people to make successful the three-year transition towards a democratic regime period.

“America is fully committed to helping Sudan transition to a civilian-led government that reflects the will of the people,” Hale said.

Further, he said he heard strong commitments from all parties he met to make the transition a success and that there be responsibility and accountability," he said.

The United States established a group of Sudan Friends including UK, Norway, Germany, European Union, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Egypt besides regional organisation and international financial organisation.

Its purpose is to prevent civil war and chaos in Sudan but also to mobilize needed financial and economic resources to support the country.

Hale met with the chairman of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC), Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and representatives of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), and discussed among others "the need for an independent investigation into the violence that has claimed a great number of lives."

In separate statements on Wednesday, Sudan’s transitional military council spokesman, Shams al-Din Kabbashi, said Khartoum was seeking cooperation with the United States in order to remove Sudan from the list of terrorism.

He said in an interview with Sky News Arabia that the United States has always been a champion of democracy and that what has been agreed in Sudan is in line with what Washington calls for.

"We have briefed U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale and the diplomatic corps in Sudan on what has been agreed between the Transitional Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change, and that we will sign the agreement on the 17th of this month."

(ST)