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US diplomat says lifting of Sudan sanctions is not linked to human rights

The Chargé d’Affaires at the US embassy in Sudan, Steven Koutsis [USEmbassyKRT / Twitter]
The Chargé d’Affaires at the US embassy in Sudan, Steven Koutsis [USEmbassyKRT / Twitter]

A leading US diplomat in Khartoum has dismissed calls for the sanctions against Sudan to be tied to the country’s human rights performance, Agence France-Presse has reported.

The US Chargé D’affaires in Khartoum, Steven Koutsis, said sanctions were imposed on Sudan to end the country’s support for extremist groups and bring peace to Darfur but were not related to Sudan’s human rights record. “None of these other issues was the point of sanctions, and none of these other issues, therefore, should be linked to the lifting of sanctions,” Koutsis told AFP.

The diplomat added that Khartoum’s advances on the five-tracks agreed with the US government to normalise relations has been “positive”. The five tracks include counterterrorism, preventing Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army from operating on its territory, ceasing hostilities in Darfur and two other areas, allowing humanitarian access into conflict zones and ending any negative interference in South Sudan.

Read: Sudan hopes US travel ban won’t affect sanctions lifting

Earlier this month, the business news agency Bloomberg reported that officials at the US State Department were supportive of the permanent lifting of the economic sanction on Sudan which were imposed almost 20 years ago for Sudan’s alleged links with terrorist networks. In 2007, the sanctions were strengthened further after civil war broke out in the western Darfur region of the country.

The final decision on the lifting of sanctions is expected on 12 July.

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