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Sudan says to push for full lifting of US sanctions

Sudan strongman Bashir

Khartoum, Sudan | AFP | Sudan said Thursday it would press on with efforts to achieve a full lifting of US sanctions against Khartoum, even as it hoped Washington would reverse its decision to extend a decades-old trade embargo.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump prolonged a review period to October 12 before his administration decides whether or not to permanently lift the sanctions imposed in 1997.

His predecessor Barack Obama had eased the measures in January, but kept Sudan on review for six months, a period that ended on Wednesday.

Trump’s order to extend the review period angered his Sudanese counterpart President Omar al-Bashir who ordered Khartoum to halt ongoing talks with Washington over sanctions until October 12.

Bashir’s National Congress Party also warned on Thursday that any unrest that erupts in Sudan will be because of the US extension.

Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour, however, attempted to rein in the rising tension, vowing that Khartoum will work with Washington to ensure the embargo is fully lifted.

“We hope that the United States reverses its decision and sticks to its commitments,” Ghandour told reporters.

“We will not be aggressive and we will not go out on the streets.”

The Sudanese foreign and defence ministries will “continue communicating” with US officials to ensure the sanctions are lifted, he said.

Sudan’s powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) will also continue communicating with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), he said.

– Not a small regional player –

Obama had made the permanent lifting of the sanctions dependent on Sudan’s progress in five areas of concern at the end of the review period.

Those include giving more access to humanitarian workers in war zones, counterterrorism cooperation with the United States, an end to hostilities against armed groups in Sudan and halting support for insurgents in neighbouring South Sudan.

In his executive order, Trump extended the deadline by three months, saying “more time is needed” to review Khartoum’s progress on the five conditions.

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