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US lifts economic sanctions on Sudan

A press conference in Sudan after the US decided to lift sanctions on Sudan [Ebrahim Hamid/Anadolu]
A press conference in Sudan after the US decided to lift sanctions on Sudan [Ebrahim Hamid/Anadolu]

The United States lifted long-standing sanctions against Sudan on Friday, saying that it had made progress fighting terrorism and easing the human rights situation in the country, Reuters has reported. The Americans have also secured Khartoum’s commitment not to pursue arms deals with North Korea.

In a move that completes a process begun by former President Barack Obama and which was opposed by human rights groups, President Donald Trump removed a US trade embargo and other penalties that had effectively cut Sudan off from much of the global financial system.

The US decision marked a major turnaround for the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who once played host to Osama bin Laden and is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of orchestrating genocide in Darfur. However, Sudan will remain on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism — alongside Iran and Syria — which carries a ban on weapons sales and restrictions on US aid, senior American officials said.

Sudanese officials also remain subject to separate sanctions stemming from human rights abuses during the Darfur conflict, the officials told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Read: Is Sudan’s President’s bid for a third term populism or political suicide?

The lifting of sanctions reflects a US assessment that Sudan has made progress in meeting Washington’s demands, including cooperation on counterterrorism, working to resolve internal conflicts and allowing more humanitarian aid into Darfur and other rebellious border areas, the officials said.

The Trump administration also secured a commitment from Sudan that it would “not pursue arms deals” with North Korea, and Washington will apply “zero tolerance” in ensuring Khartoum’s compliance, one of the officials said.

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