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U.S., Sudan downplay Trump emergency declaration

October 31, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government on Saturday sought to belittle the significance of a declaration by U.S. President Donald Trump that he is renewing the national emergency with regards to Sudan.

U.S. embassy in KhartoumThe notice which is due to be published on Monday says that despite recent positive developments in Sudan "the crisis constituted by the actions and policies of the Government of Sudan ....continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. Therefore, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency".

The language in this notification has been standard since 2017 which is the same year the U.S. fully lifted economic sanctions on Sudan.

The national emergency declaration is part of the powers conferred on U.S. presidents under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) which allows them to "regulate international commerce" when invoking such an emergency in response to perceived threats against the U.S.

In the case of Sudan, the declaration was made in 1997 when then-President Bill Clinton imposed comprehensive economic sanctions on Sudan.

However, despite lifting those sanctions, the U.S. continues to have Darfur related sanctions imposed on Sudanese individuals and companies.

The U.S. embassy tweeted that the extension of the national emergency "is necessary to maintain UN sanctions related to actions in Darfur under the former regime".

The embassy stressed that this move "in no way impacts the removal of Sudan from the state sponsors of terrorism list" which was initiated this week.

The Sudanese foreign ministry also described the move as a "routine procedure" that is renewed every year.

Relations between the U.S. and Sudan has significantly improved since the ouster of former president Omer Hassan al-Bashir and has culminated with the terrorism delisting.

The Trump administration pressured Khartoum to recognize Israel and move to normalizing ties with the Jewish state in return for lifting terror-related sanctions as well as financial aid.

Yesterday the U.S. announced $60 million in humanitarian assistance that came in addition to previously announced $81 million this month.

Trump moved to waive restrictions on providing aid to the government of Sudan imposed under some US laws and notified Congress about his decision.

He has also signalled his willingness to waive sanctions imposed on Sudan under the Child Soldiers Protection Act (CSPA).

(ST)