Home | News    Tuesday 20 May 2008

Sudan says talks with US on normalization postponed indefinitely


May 19, 2008 (KHARTOUM) — A senior Sudanese official today confirmed that the second round of negotiations with the US have been postponed indefinitely.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor (R) welcomes new US special envoy for Sudan Richard Williamson (L) upon his arrival for a meeting in Khartoum on February 25, 2008 (AFP)

The Sudanese presidential adviser Nafi Ali Nafi met yesterday with the US charge d’Affaires Alberto Fernandez to discuss a “suitable date to continue the dialogue”.

However Nafi said that no new date has been set and did not elaborate on the causes of the delay in the negotiations that were supposed to start in Khartoum today.

Yesterday the head of US affairs in the Sudanese foreign ministry Abdel-Basit Al-Sanoosi told the daily Al-Rayaam that it is “likely” that the talks would be postponed.

Al-Sanoosi hinted that the rebel assault on the Sudanese capital and the ongoing Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) convention may “impact the commencement of talks [US-Sudanese]”.

A delegation led by the US special envoy to Sudan Richard Williamson was due to arrive in Khartoum on for talks with Sudanese officials over normalization of ties between the two countries.

Williamson met with in Rome last April with a Sudanese delegation headed by Sudan Nafi and included Sudan’s spy chief Salah Gosh as well as foreign minister Deng Alor.

News of the meeting drew widespread in the US from lawmakers and Darfur advocates who think that the Sudanese government has not lived up to its previous commitments with regards to Darfur and partially to the North-South agreement.

Democratic White House contender Barack Obama issued a statement saying he was “deeply concerned” over reports that the Bush administration is negotiating with Sudan over normalizing ties.

The New York Times (NYT) obtained a series of documents exchanged between Washington and Khartoum on a series of steps to normalize relations between the two countries. The documents were leaked by an unidentified US official described as being “critical of the administration’s position”.

The report said that the Bush administration could remove Sudan from an American list of state supporters of terrorism and normalize relations if the Sudanese government agreed, among other steps, to allow Thai and Nepalese peacekeepers as part of the peacekeeping force.

However Williamson told US lawmakers that the report is “not accurate” and that if it was “he would not defend it and would not engage in it”. He further said that it was the Sudanese government which approached Washington on the requirements for normalizing ties.

“Concrete, verifiable, significant progress must be achieved on the ground before we can contemplate improved relations” Williamson said.

Williamson told a group of Darfur activists in a conference call sponsored by Enough Project from Washington that he does not foresee improvement of ties with Sudan "during his tenure".

“There has to be changes on the ground before any improvement in relations” the US envoy said.

He further said that tougher sanctions remain an option on the table if the US president Bush deems them necessary.

But following the Rome negotiations the Sudanese government decided to release containers belonging to the US embassy that was being held by custom authorities in Port Sudan for over a year.

The containers contained equipments that were to be used for new embassy complex in south Khartoum that was under construction for over two years.

The daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat quoting unidentified Sudanese official said that the US administration agreed to “re-open a bank account for the Sudanese embassy in Washington” in return.

Earlier this month Washington also released a number of Sudanese inmates held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay.


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  • 21 May 2008 00:00, by sudani


    We , the people of Sudan would like very much to normalize our relationships with USA , so that you come and see the actual sudanese nature and country , and to know the real truth behind a war that has aged a country which should never age , because of its wealth .
    Sudan at the moment has no freinds , Like Kenya , who has Britain , or like Chad , who have France .
    The british has gone out from Sudan by force and never felt emotional about it again. China does know our potential , and we thank them for believing in us when everybody did’nt believe .
    Please Come & talk your differences over with our Government.

    To Mr. Nafi Ali Nafi

    We need the USA . We need them now believe me , if we want to take off from where we are , this is the only solution & let them know that we need them , I am not ashamed to say it .
    They need our Richness, and we need their protection to get it out , & every body can be happy .

    This is my opinion.


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