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U.S. Deputy Secretary of State visits Sudan

Sudan's Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour shakes hand with John Sullivan U.S. Deputy Secretary of State on 14 September 2014 (ST Photo)
November 14, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - In the first visit of a senior U.S. diplomat to Sudan since long years ago, the Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan will be in the Sudanese capital Thursday for talks on bilateral relations after the lift of economic sanctions.

The State Department Tuesday announced the visit saying it would be part of an eight-day tour including France, Sudan, Tunisia, and Nigeria from November 14-21.

Sullivan "will then travel to Khartoum, where he will meet with Foreign Minister Ghandour and other government officials to discuss ways to build on progress following the completion of the Five-Track Engagement Plan in October".

"He will also advance discussions on the DPRK (North Korea) and human rights, including religious freedom" further stressed the statement.

In statements at Khartoum airport after the return of Sudanese president from Uganda, Ghandour confirmed the visit saying the visit include a joint meeting to discuss the outstanding issues and a follow-up of "the previous dialogue files ".

The Deputy Secretary of State, also, would meet religious leaders, some civil society groups, political parties, academics and youth, further said the Sudanese foreign minister.

Last October, Washington removed economic sanctions on Sudan within a five-track engagement reached in December 2016, including the cessation of hostilities in the conflict areas, the humanitarian access to civilians in the war zones, cooperation to address regional conflicts and the support of U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

The framework, also, includes three matters added last July including human rights record, religious freedoms and Sudan’s commitment to the international sanctions on North Korea which tops Washington diplomatic priorities.

The lift of sanctions should be followed by talks on the lift of remaining sanctions, the end of armed conflicts and democratic reforms in Sudan. Washington said it would use the removal of remaining sanctions to encourage the government of President Omer al-Bashir to achieve peace and restore freedoms.