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U.S. advocacy group call to tie Sudan’s removal of terror list to fundamental reforms

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan addressing the staff of American embassy in Khartoum 16 Nov 2017 (Photo U.S. Embassy Khartoum)
December 12, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Washington-based advocacy group Enough Project has called on the U.S. administration to use targeted sanctions and Sudan’s removal from the terror list to bring the Islamist regime in Khartoum to end the war and protect freedoms and equal rights for its citizens.

On 6 October, President Trump permanently revoked economic sanctions on Sudan but has kept Sudan on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. Also, he didn’t touch a set of targeted sanctions on individuals and firms in connection with Darfur conflict.

The lift was decided in a process of constructive engagement with Khartoum including its cooperation on counterterrorism, improving humanitarian access to civilians in the war conflict areas, acting to end South Sudan conflict and ending military cooperation with North Korea as well as respecting religious freedom.

In a new report titled "Radical Intolerance: Sudan’s Religious Oppression and Embrace of Extremist Groups" released on Tuesday, Enough cast doubts on Khartoum’s credibility and commitment to the five-track process saying that it maintains its relations with extremists and Jihadist groups and intrinsically not interested in democratic reforms.

The rights groups went to back the idea that during the next stage of the normalisation process Washington should use Sudan’s desperate need of national debt relief which requires its removal from the terror list as points of leverage to ensure democratic reforms in the east African country.

"Incentives for the Sudanese government, such as removal of the state sponsor of terrorism designation and support for Sudan’s debt relief, should be tied to the implementation of fundamental reforms," reads the report.

Further, the groups proposed targeted sanctions that "(...) should focus on key officials and their networks that undermine peace and human rights,(stressing that) these pressures should spare the Sudanese public".

Recently the Sudanese government was accused some Christian groups of continuing to persecute religious leaders. Also, the security authorities targeted the newspapers and confiscated the print runs of several dailies for more than a week.

U.S. Deputy Secretary Of State John Sullivan was in Khartoum last November and held a series of meeting with the Sudanese officials to discuss the next phase of talks on bilateral relations. Even he met with the Sudanese Muslim scholars to discuss issues of religious freedoms.

"For Sudan to become a full partner of the United States, it must seek peace within its borders and with its neighbours, and cooperate reliably with the international community to improve security and prosperity in the region and adhere to long-standing international norms," he said in a speech on human rights/religious freedom in Sudan delivered at Al-Neelain Mosque in Khartoum on November 17, 2017.

"In addition, supporting human rights, including religious freedom, has been, and will continue to be, a critical part of the United States’ bilateral engagement with Sudan," he stressed.

The two countries are expected to resume talks on bilateral relations early next year.

(ST)