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Sudan hopes US travel ban won’t harm sanctions bid

FILE PHOTO: Sudan strongman Bashir

Khartoum, Sudan | AFP | Sudan expressed hopes on Tuesday that a US court’s decision to partially reinstate a travel ban that includes its citizens will not harm its bid to have American sanctions lifted.

The US Supreme Court on Monday partially reinstated President Donald Trump’s travel ban imposing restrictions on citizens from Sudan, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Syria.

The ruling comes just weeks ahead of an expected decision by Trump on whether to permanently lift the United States’ 20-year-old trade embargo on the North African country.

“Sudan hopes the decision on sanctions should not be impacted by this latest decision,” senior foreign ministry official Abdelghani Elnaim said in a statement.

Elnaim said Khartoum had made “progress” on meeting conditions for Washington to permanently lift the sanctions that were imposed in 1997 over its alleged support to Islamist militant groups.

Then-president Barack Obama eased the sanctions in January, but made their permanent lifting dependent on Khartoum’s progress in five areas of concern during a six-month review period that ends on July 12.

These conditions — known as the “five tracks” — include improved access for aid groups, halting support for rebels in neighbouring South Sudan, an end to hostilities in the conflict zones of Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan, and counterterrorism cooperation with US intelligence agencies.

Soon after the court’s decision on Monday, Trump said it was a “clear victory” for US national security.

Elnaim said Sudan respects the right the United States has to protect its own national security.

“But at the same time, Sudan, its government and its citizens are not a threat to American national security,” he said.

“Sudan is fully cooperating with the United States, which has been acknowledged by US security agencies.”

Although the US court reinstated the travel ban partially, it said the restrictions could not be imposed against people with personal links to the US, including foreigners wishing to visit family or students accepted into US universities.

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