Sudanese members of the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary force backed by the Sudanese government to fight rebels and guard the Sudan-Libya border, ride in the back of a Toyota pickup truck as they prepare to receive President Omar al-Bashir during his visit to the village of Umm al-Qura, northwest of Nyala in South Darfur province, on September 23, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The United States
says it has lifted a raft of its toughest long-standing sanctions on Sudan, though it will keep the African nation on its list of “states sponsors of terrorism”.
On Friday night, a senior US
official told reporters in Washington that “the United States
has decided to formally revoke a number of economically focused sanctions on Sudan.”
The US State Department also issued a statement earlier in the day, citing Sudan’s effort to address the issues of terrorism as well as human rights abuses as grounds for making that decision.
It cited the Khartoum-based government’s “sustained positive actions to maintain a cessation of hostilities in conflict areas in Sudan, improve humanitarian access throughout Sudan, and maintain cooperation with the United States on addressing regional conflicts and the threat of terrorism”.
The decision to revoke the penalising measures imposed in 1997 came after the Trump administration last month removed Sudan from the list of countries whose citizens are subject to travel restrictions.
But the move, however, leaves other sanctions in place, including those against persons with arrest warrants pertaining to atrocities committed during the conflict in the country’s war-torn southern Darfur region.
Sudanese women and children stand next to a donkey in the war-torn town of Golo in the thickly forested mountainous area of Jebel Marra in central Darfur on June 19, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The US also secured a commitment from Sudan that it would “not pursue an arms deals” with North Korea in order to isolate Pyongyang diplomatically, according another US official.
Washington told Khartoum that an “absolute, vital part of” their relationship in the future is subject to the country’s full compliance with UN Security Council resolutions related to North Korea.
Sudan has long been suspected of having military relations with North Korea, and according to a UN report last year, the country purchased North Korean air-to-ground missiles as part of a deal with a front company in 2013.
“We will not necessarily take the government at their word,” one official said. “We will closely be monitoring the situation. And they understand we have zero tolerance for continued arms deals with North Korea.”
The official, however, called the decision “a productive first step,” saying, “We see this as an important milestone.”
In response, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry issued a statement, saying, “The leaders of Sudan, the government of Sudan and the people of Sudan welcome the positive decision taken by American President Donald Trump of removing the economic sanctions completely.”