Home | News    Saturday 7 October 2017

Calls on U.S. to keep pressures on Sudan to achieve peace and reforms

JPEG - 38.2 kb
Congressman James McGovern

October 6, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Different American and Sudanese actors called on the American administration to continue to put pressure on the government of President Omer al-Bashir to end the armed conflicts, and to support the peace and democratic changes Sudan.

The repeal of sanctions is seen by the American policymakers as the price for its cooperation on anti-terrorism. Also, Washington intends to use the improvement of bilateral relation to gain the trust of Khartoum and to build on it to achieve peace and improve freedoms and human rights in Sudan.

"The United States will continue efforts to improve bilateral relations with Sudan. Any further normalization of ties will require continued progress by the Government of Sudan," said the State Department on Friday. Furthermore, it threatened they will "use additional tools to apply pressure" on if Khartoum regresses on progress on the five tracks or takes any negative action on "other areas of concern".

However, U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), a senior House Democrat and the co-chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Foundation, a bipartisan caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives condemned the lift of sanction saying it "legitimizes the murderous actions of the Sudanese government and military".

He pointed to the individual sanctions imposed by the Congress on Sudan within the framework of Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006 saying that "much more progress is required and any back-sliding will likely result in Congress reinstating sanctions."

"More importantly, as the U.S. now engages with Sudan, our policy must emphasize greater respect for human rights including religious freedom, political inclusion, an end to corruption, and genuine negotiations with all armed actors to achieve a just and lasting peace," he stressed.

McGovern is one of the Congressmen who dedicated their efforts to defend peace and human rights in Sudan and he was openly opposed to any ease of sanctions on Sudan. However, his point of view was not followed by the officials in Washington because they prioritise for the time being Sudan cooperation on security matters an regional stability.

From the side of Sudanese opposition groups, there was no reaction, for the moment. However, Yasir Arman, the SPLM-N Agar Secretary-General issued a statement saying the lift of sanction would not benefit to the Sudanese people under the "corrupt" regime of President Omer al-Bashir.

"The poor masses of Sudanese people will not benefit economically from the lifting of sanctions as the corrupt system will direct the benefit into the hands of the corrupt minority political class," he said.

" We are calling on the friends of the Sudanese people in the United States to continue their support for the agendas of peace and democracy in Sudan," he further said.

Arman called on the Sudanese opposition group to unite saying a "new game" has started with the lift of sanctions and they need to "asserting themselves as a force to be reckoned with".


In Washington, the Enough Project reiterated its call for a new policy tied to smart and modernized sanctions "to address the core issues that led the regime to be sanctioned in the first place".

"The focus should be on promoting fundamental human rights and religious freedoms, countering grand corruption, and achieving peace in Sudan’s various war-torn regions," said John Prendergast, Founding Director at the Enough Project In a statement released on Friday.

According to Prendergast, this new policy framework should be tied to a new set of smart, modernized network sanctions targeting individuals and entities responsible for mass atrocities, human rights violations or restriction of freedoms.

In a report issued earlier this year, the group, which is opposed to the lift of sanctions on the basis of the five-track framework, called to focus on smart sanctions that spare the Sudanese people who were affected by the 20-year embargo.

“With the comprehensive U.S. sanctions permanently lifted, the regime of President Omar al-Bashir will have no room to continue to shift blame to the U.S. sanctions for the devastating effects on the Sudanese people of its own grand corruption and gross mismanagement of the economy," said Suliman Baldo, Senior Advisor at the Enough Project, on Friday.

"The regime will need to own the outcomes of its own greed and brutality,” he stressed.

Omer Ismail, Senior Advisor at the Enough Project, for his part, pointed that " it is incumbent upon the Trump Administration to see to it that Sudan does not return to its policies that prompted the sanctions in the first place".

"Sudan should be pressured to continue to improve its human rights record, respect religious freedom, and chart a way for a peace process that is credible and just,” he added.

The Sudanese government is expected to hold a press conference Saturday in Khartoum on the permanent lift of sanctions.

But the foreign ministry already issued a statement welcoming the revocation of sanctions and called for Sudan removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

In his statement, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Gharib Allah Khidir said Sudan looks forward to normalizing relations with the United States and to develop ties between the two countries

"But this requires the lifting of its name from the list of state sponsors of terrorism" and to "take positive measures that enable Sudan to benefit from debt relief," said Khidir.

Washington says plans to use these two measures to bring Khartoum to end war an implement democratic reforms.