Sudan demands removal of US economic sanctions after enhancing cooperation

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President Barack Obama shakes hands at a Ministerial meeting on Sudan at the United Nations in New York, N.Y. September 24, 2010. Photo – Samantha Appleton/White House

Sudan said it welcomed a Washington statement which promised mobilising international community to plug part of the country’s debt and demanded lifting of the decades-long economic sanctions imposed by the world’s most powerful nation.

According to a recent Financial Times report which quoted a Western diplomat as saying that Washington is finding it hard to contribute to the international effort to shoulder Sudan’s financial burden as it pledged in a donors’ conference after the signing of the 2005 peace agreement due to the sanctions it has imposed on the African nation.

He pointed out that US administration will encourage Sudan’s friends like Qatar, Kuwait and China to step in. The diplomat also hinted a move to waive sanctions preventing dollar transfers.

Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Al-Obeid Morawah denied reports of a deal reached out with the Obama administration. He stressed that any American move in this respect should be seen as being part of international community efforts to fulfil its commitments.

“If Washington wants to undertake a positive move towards Sudan it must be the lifting of economic sanctions,” he said.

Al-Obeid further urged Washington to hold a donors’ conference which it has been delaying for a long time.

In March, Washington forced Khartoum to allow humanitarian access to the rebel held areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. It also pressured Turkey, Norway and the United Kingdom to postpone a donors’ meeting to support Sudan after violence broke out in South Sudan.

Earlier this month, US decided to keep Sudan in its terror list despite its acknowledgement that Khartoum is a “cooperative counterterrorism partner”. It is also expected to renew economic sanctions in November.

US officials admit sanctions give them a leverage to pressure the Sudanese government to resolve outstanding issues with South Sudan and Darfur.

But some officials in Washington like Princeton Lyman, US special envoy for Sudan, admitted the need to review this position as the deterioration of bilateral relations prevents them from having a proactive role in the crisis-prone nation.

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