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Sudan Tribune

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Sudanese officials visiting Washington for talks with US officials: sources

February 3, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s foreign minister Ali Karti and presidential assistant Ibrahim Ghandour are expected to fly to Washington in two separate but synchronized visits where they will hold talks with US officials, Sudan Tribune has learnt.

Karti is scheduled to take part in the annual National Prayer Breakfast which is hosted by members of the United States Congress and is organized on their behalf by The Fellowship Foundation, a Christ-centered group.

President Obama will also attend this year’s breakfast that is to be held at the Washington Hilton.

The Sudanese foreign minister is reported to have privately said that he will meet key congressmen and administration officials for talks on bilateral relations.

Karti is believed to be a staunch supporter of continuing dialogue with Washington. He and Ghandour have reportedly convinced Bashir to remove his veto against discussions with the US administration on normalizing ties.

Sudan is on the list of terror sponsoring countries and subjected to harsh economic sanctions. Washington admits Sudan’s cooperation in the fight against terrorism, but attached new conditions related to the end of the conflicts in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

Officials in Khartoum however, insist that issues of bilateral relations should be discussed without interfering in Sudan internal affairs.

GHANDOUR’S VISIT

Sudan Tribune also learnt that Ghandour will also arrive in Washington around the same time.

His programme includes meetings with officials at the State Department and the US special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan along with Sudan experts and think tanks.

The national dialogue process and ways to achieve peace and democratic reforms are expected to be at the center of the discussions.

Many Western officials believe that the idea of national dialogue should be supported despite discouraging signs about its outcome.

Germany, backed by the European Union (EU), is supporting the process and is working closely with the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP).

Ghandour, who is the chief negotiator for talks with rebels on the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, will seek to persuade Washington to support their efforts to convince the rebel groups to sign cessation of hostilities agreement and to join the national dialogue.

The SPLM-N secretary-general and chief negotiator Yasser Arman denounced the visit of the two Sudanese officials saying they are invited to visit the US at the time they and their government are committing gross human rights violations and genocide.

“Ghandour is one of the architects of the one party election. We should mobilize against this visit,” he stressed.

(ST)