Sudan’s al-Bashir describes U.S. decision to ease sanctions as “positive move”

Sudan's President Omer al-Bashir speaks in Hara, Ethiopia on 8 december 2016 (ENA Photo)
January 14, 2017 (KHAROTUM) – Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir has described the United States decision to ease economic sanctions imposed on Sudan as a positive move saying it would pave the way for developing normal relations between Khartoum and Washington.

Following his meeting with the committee tasked with following up on the dialogue with Washington on Saturday, al-Bashir said the decision comes as Sudan completes the national dialogue process and heads to establish the government of national concord.

In a statement seen by Sudan Tribune, al-Bashir instructed the committee to continue the dialogue with Washington “until removing Sudan from the US list of states sponsors of terror”.

It is noteworthy that the committee includes representatives from the ministries of defence, social welfare and finance besides the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) and the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS).

For his part, Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said the committee held 23 meetings with the American officials in Khartoum before reaching the decision to lift the sanctions.

“We held meetings with the [US] Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Department of Defence, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury and other bodies,” he said

He pointed that the meetings were held away from the media in agreement with the US National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

According to Ghandour, the two sides discussed five tracks including the fight against terrorism, Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Sudan’s role in the peace process in South Sudan, Sudan’s peace and the humanitarian situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

He stressed that Sudan have shown commitment to implement the Roadmap agreed upon during the talks between the two sides.

“We are committed to all tracks … we combat terrorism and we are keen about peace in South Sudan and we seek to achieve peace in Sudan and we don’t support the LRA,” he said

The U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday has signed an executive order to ease sanctions against Sudan enabling trade and investment transactions to resume with the east African nation.

In a letter to Congress announcing the changes, Obama said the move intends to acknowledge Sudan’s efforts to reduce internal conflicts, improve humanitarian access to people in need and curtail terrorism.

He pointed that the easing of the sanctions would not take effect for six months and would be dependent on the findings of a progress report on Khartoum’s actions.

In the mean time, the U.S. Treasury Department authorized Americans to do business in Sudan and export products there, effective immediately. It also unfroze Sudan’s assets in the U.S.

Sudan has been under American economic and trade sanctions since 1997 for its alleged connection to terror networks and remains on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terror. The first batch of sanctions restricts U.S. trade and investment with Sudan and block government’s assets of the Sudanese government.

Additional sanctions in relations with the conflict in Darfur region were introduced by two Executive Orders in 2006.