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Sudan rejects US conditions for debt relief, slams Washington’s policies

February 20, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government on Monday rejected the conditions attached by the United States to cancelling all of Khartoum’s $2.4 billion debt owed to it.

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Haj Magid Siwar, the head of the political mobilization bureau at Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) - Al Ahram Al Youm newspaper

The debt relief proposal was submitted last week by US president Barack Obama to Congress as part of his 2013 budget. But for Sudan to take advantage of the offer it must follow through on all remaining items of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) particularly with regard to post-secession negotiations with South Sudan.

Khartoum must also satisfy US Congress requirements including upholding human rights and fighting terrorism.

Haj Magid Siwar, the head of the political mobilization bureau at the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Khartoum, said his government does not accept the US calling for allowing aid groups into rebel-held areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile in return for debt relief.

He said that Washington has been dealing with Khartoum in a lot of “fooling” which led to the Sudanese government not trusting any of the promises put forward by successive US administrations on lifting economic sanctions and removing the country from the list of states that sponsor terrorism.

Siwar downplayed visits by US officials to Khartoum including congressmen saying it is not new for US administrations “which disclaims all its political and ethical obligations”.

“If America is willing to improve relations with Sudan then we are more willing but we will not respond to lobby pressures and lobby groups” he said.

Last week, the Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti said his country’s relations with the US are not able to progress because of divide between the administration and lobby groups.

Karti stressed that Obama has adopted a policy seeking normalisation with Sudan but pointed out that US advocacy and lobby groups which harbour enmity towards Khartoum are actively working to undermine the administration’s approach.