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Washington says keen to develop strategic relations with Khartoum

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs Alan poses with SAF chief of staff Kamal Abdel Marouf on 13 oct 2018 (SUNA)
October 14, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The U. S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs, Alan Patterson, has expressed his country’s desire to establish strategic relations with Sudan.

On Friday, Patterson discussed with the visiting Sudanese Army’s Chief of General Staff Kamal Abdel-Marouf issues of common concern besides the regional situation and ongoing arrangements to launch the second phase of dialogue between the two countries.

According to Ashorooq TV, the U.S. official praised Sudan’s efforts to achieving security, peace and stability in the region, pointing to its cooperation with neighbouring countries in this regard.

He expressed his country’s desire to forge strategic ties with Sudan, pointing to the latter’s resources and wealth besides its important geo-strategic position in the African continent.

The U.S. official also mentioned Sudan’s efforts to combating cross-border crime, human trafficking and illegal migration, renewing his country’s support to these efforts in the prelude to lifting the East African nation’s name from the U.S. list of states sponsors of terrorism.

In October 2017, the U.S. Administration permanently lifted 20-year-old economic sanctions against Sudan citing positive actions on humanitarian access and counter-terrorism.

Khartoum, accordingly, authorized humanitarian access to civilians in Darfur and unilaterally declared a cessation of hostilities in Darfur, the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

However, Washington left other sanctions in place for the time being, including those against individuals with arrest warrants related to atrocities committed during the conflict in Darfur.

Further, it didn’t remove Sudan’s name from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The two countries are engaged in a five-track process towards full normalization of relations.

The process includes the fight against terrorism, Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Sudan’s role in the peace process in South Sudan, Sudan’s peace and the humanitarian situation in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

Last month, Foreign Minister El-Dirdeiry Mohamed Ahmed met the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan in New York on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The two sides agreed to resume talks on the normalization of bilateral talks and the lift of remaining sanctions particularly Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorist groups. The measure is crucial to get a debt relief and allow Sudan to get international aid to build its economic infrastructure.