Government Lifts Sanctions Against Sudan

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On Friday, the U.S. lifted long-standing sanctions imposed since 1997 against Sudan, saying the country had made progress in fighting terrorism and easing humanitarian distress, while Khartoum has also commited 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 USA trade embargo and other penalties that had effectively cut Sudan off from much of the global financial system.

Sudan also has recently distanced itself diplomatically from Iran, another US arch-foe. "It is not going to presage a massive stream of money going into the country but is a big moment psychologically", said Magnus Taylor, a Sudan analyst with the International Crisis Group. This action came about through a focused, 16-month diplomatic effort to make progress with Sudan in these key areas.

Washington's decision marks a substantial turnaround for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his government, which once hosted Osama bin Laden.

"It's a serious mistake for these sanctions to be lifted permanently when Sudan has made no progress on human rights", said Andrea Prasow, deputy director of the Washington office of Human Rights Watch.

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"Sudan has fulfilled all the necessary conditions relating to the roadmap, and the United States administration is a witness to that and therefore we expect the sanctions to be lifted", Momtaz was quoted as saying. Sudan has no formal relations with North Korea, and, as a senior administration official noted, the two states do not maintain embassies in each other's capitals.

The lifting of sanctions rescinds measures imposed in 1997 related to terrorism concerns and others put in place in 2006 in connection with the conflict in Darfur.

The Trump administration also recently removed Sudan from its travel ban. According to the United Nations, since 2003 when ethnic groups rebelled against the government at least 300,000 people have been killed and over 2.5 million have been displaced.

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".

Sudan insists that there is "no reason" for it to be blacklisted, as it has cooperated with US intelligence agencies in fighting "terrorism" - a claim acknowledged by the US State Department.

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