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Sudan Tribune

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Sudan’s FM to meet with U.S. secretary of state

September 8, 2015 (KHARTOUM) –Sudan’s foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour said he was due to meet with Secretary of State John Jerry on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meetings scheduled for September 19 in New York.

John Kerry waves after delivering a speech in support of the Iran nuclear deal at the National Constitution Center, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in Philadelphia (Photo AP)
John Kerry waves after delivering a speech in support of the Iran nuclear deal at the National Constitution Center, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in Philadelphia (Photo AP)
Ghandour said the meeting was in the context of the ongoing bilateral dialogue.

“Our dialogue with Washington will not stop,” he told a number of foreign news agency correspondents in Khartoum Tuesday.

Referring to the talks US Special Presidential Envoy Donald Booth had in Khartoum recently, Ghandour said it centered on building normal relations between the two countries.

“This can only be achieved by lifting Sudan’s name from the terrorism sponsors list, writing off its debts and lifting economic sanctions,” he further said.

Sudan has been on the US list of countries supporting terrorism since 1993, for allegedly providing support and safe haven for terrorist groups. Washington has also imposed economic sanctions on the African country since 1997, on accusations of human rights violations.

Although it admits that Khartoum has become a partner in fighting terrorism, the US administration claims that the country still plays host to some terrorist groups and has connections with groups classified as terrorist.

The Sudanese Minister declined to give any details about the outcome of the three-day talks with the American delegation in Khartoum.

“We have agreed not to share news of the talks with the media,” he said.

Commenting on the draft resolution lodged by the United States at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to relegate Sudan to agenda item 4, Ghandour said it was part of a consistent campaign against Sudan. “But it will not succeed,” he affirmed.

Last week, media reports said that Washington had embarked on moves within the UNHRC to move Sudan back to agenda item 4 which would allow intervention under chapter 7 of the UN charter.

The US representative announced during a procedural session at the UNHRC that his country intended to lodge a draft resolution to relegate Sudan to agenda item 4, which provides for appointing a special rapporteur for human rights in the country.

Regarding the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s arrest warrants against senior Sudanese officials, the minister said: “Sudan announced from day one that it will not deal with this court because it is not a member of the Rome Statue.”

He pointed out that the African Union is spearheading legal efforts to confront the ICC.

The Sudanese minister denied that his country’s relations with the African Union’s Peace and Security Council (AUPCS) were strained because the Council had set a time limit for Sudan to resolve its peace and war issues.

“The three month respite set by the Council is not meant for Sudan. It is for the African High Level Mechanism headed by Mbeki,” he explained, adding “No one can set time limit warnings for Sudan. Sudan is a founding member of the African Union. No one can set such conditions to us.”

AL-BASHIR AND NEW YORK MEETINGS

Regarding who will represent Sudan at the UN General Assembly, the Minister did not rule out the President’s participation.

“Sudan has an unequivocal right to have its president representing it at any international or regional forum. Al-Bashir is a symbol of Sudan. He has absolute rights to attend the New York meetings. I can’t see why he can’t go,” he said, but he quickly added, “Unless compelling circumstances barred him.”

A senior Sudanese diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Sudan Tribune Monday that Sudan’s delegation to the summit would be led by the Foreign Minister, not the President as previously announced, adding that the delegation will be comprised of nine members.

Sources at the presidency and at the ministry of foreign affairs confirmed to Sudan Tribune that no physical arrangements for al-Bashir’s departure had been made. None of the officials who would normally accompany the President in his trips abroad has been asked to submit their papers to the US Embassy,” the sources said, arguing that the President’s attendance of the New York meetings is unlikely, given the tight time limit and the difficulty of obtaining entry visas at such a short notice, particularly given the tight US formalities.

UNIVERSITY CHANCELLORS’ US VISIT

In a related development, the ministry of foreign affairs disclosed that a delegation of chancellors of Sudanese universities will visit the United States within the forthcoming days.

State minister of foreign affairs Obeid-Allah Mohamed Obeid-Allah said the visit comes in the context of bilateral cooperation in education, following the US decision to exempt education from the embargo.

Obeid-Allah said the chancellors will meet their American counterparts.

He pointed out that the relations between Khartoum and Washington were improving significantly and constantly. “The fact that members of the Sudanese parliamentary delegation were issued entry visas is a strong signal of a positive change in Washington’s stance,” he said.

(ST)