Home | News    Monday 8 November 2010

Obama offers Sudan’s removal from "terrorism sponsor" list by July 2011

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November 7, 2010 (WASHINGTON) – Sudan can find itself off the list of states that sponsor terrorism as early as July 2011 should it facilitate the self-determination votes in Abyei and South Sudan and recognize their outcome, senior U.S. officials said today.

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U.S. President Barack Obama (AP)

The offer was carried by chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry who began a visit to Khartoum last Friday and met with senior officials there including 2nd Vice President Ali Osman Taha.

Sudan was designated as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993, but in its latest reports, the U.S. State department described Sudan as "a co-operative partner in global counterterrorism efforts".

U.S. media unveiled in recent years details of close cooperation between Khartoum and Washington in regions like the Horn of Africa and Iraq. The Sudanese government acknowledged the work on terrorism issues but complained that it has not received the reward it was promised for that.

General Scott Gration, the U.S. special envoy for Sudan, told lawmakers last year he did not know of any intelligence to justify Sudan remaining on the list of "state sponsors of terrorism," a designation accompanied by sanctions and restrictions on aid.

The ’Politico’ magazine quoted unnamed senior U.S. officials as saying that president Barack Obama attached several conditions to the offer including that Khartoum facilitate the conduct of a transparent and on-time referendum on the status of Southern Sudan and respecting its result.

Additionally, Khartoum must implement "all appropriate post-referendum agreements - related to border agreements, currency, citizenship and other matters," to fulfill U.S. conditions to be considered for accelerated removal from the state terror sponsor list, the official said.

The administration proposal Kerry carried to Khartoum "decouples the state sponsor of terrorism issue from Darfur," a second senior U.S. official said Sunday. "But doing this in no way undermines the importance of the resolution of humanitarian and political problems that have plagued Darfur for the last decade. The comprehensive sanctions that have been in place [on Sudan] since 2003 and 2004 remain in place until we see a resolution of the Darfur crisis."

Obama’s offer moves up by at least six months the date by which Khartoum might come off the list. But the U.S. officials emphasized a final decision would still be contingent on Sudan halting all sponsorship of terrorism for at least six months before the July 2011 target date and pledging not to resume such assistance in the future.

Preparations for the key votes in South Sudan and Abyei have proceeded haltingly amid political and logistical obstacles, and the southerners have accused the northerners of stalling, warning of violence if the referendum is delayed. ?

Furthermore, it is all but certain that the Abyei referendum will be delayed as the commission to oversee it has not been established yet. Northern officials have publicly asserted that the disputed border area will not have its vote held as scheduled as issues of border demarcation and eligibility of voters have yet to be resolved.

The South Sudan referendum commission (SSRC) is reportedly in disarray over the "autocratic" leadership style of its chairman Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil. This week the spokesperson for the commission resigned citing disagreement with Khalil and called for delaying the vote. Furthermore, the SSRC’s Secretary General Al- Nijoumi who also shares similar grudges against the chairman has sought to quit as well but was convinced to stay.

On Sunday, the head of the training unit at the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau (SSRB) in Juba told Sudan Tribune he resigned over what he described as a " poor working relationship" between the members Chan Reec Madut who heads the bureau.

U.S. senator Kerry said that "Sudan now has the opportunity to define itself for the world and create a better, more peaceful, and more prosperous future for all the Sudanese people".

"President Obama made clear in the proposal conveyed this weekend that if Sudan’s leaders take concrete steps to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, including recognizing the results of the referendum in January, he is prepared to immediately take significant steps to begin to transform the bilateral relationship. This would be the beginning of a new roadmap for addressing key bilateral issues as post-referendum issues are resolved," he added.

The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in North and Sudan people Liberation Movement (SPLM) in South have yet to agree on contentious post-referendum arrangements for South Sudan including border demarcation, wealth sharing, water, citizenship and national debt. All these issues are considered extremely thorny and it is not clear what is the status of discussions between the two sides on these items.

Obama’s carrots to Khartoum may include more than just getting of the terrorism list. On Saturday Kerry met with Sudanese minister of Finance and National Economy, Ali Mahmood Hassanein to discuss the country’s $35.7 billion debt and ways to get a relief.

Sudan state media said that the US Senator promised the establishment of a committee comprising the Sudanese and US sides to deliberate and arrive at a resolution to Sudan’s foreign debts.

A well-placed source in Khartoum told Sudan Tribune on Friday that Western diplomats in the capital believe that Kerry may also offer U.S. support for deferring the arrest warrant against Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir through the UN Security Council for one year that can be renewed indefinitely.

But U.S. officials today emphasized that separate U.S. sanctions imposed over Darfur — which Obama extended for another year on Nov. 1 — would remain until Khartoum improved conditions in the region, where the United Nations estimates up to 300,000 people died following a revolt in 2003, they said.

"Those ... sanctions remain in place and they are the ones that have a significant effect on Sudan’s economy and on the government of Sudan itself," said another official, who added that future steps such as debt relief and an exchange of ambassadors would all depend upon progress in Darfur.

(ST)

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  • 8 November 2010 05:47, by Ahmed Chol

    Sudan is the cradle and the birth place of al-qaeda. Had, the NCP not sheltered Bin-laden in the 90’s, America would have not had 9/11 and the subsequent two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that are bankrupting that country.

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  • 8 November 2010 09:20, by Matung Neng-neng

    Was the father of Mr. Obama from Dinka Tribe of Sudan? How come he love and support Dinka so much like this? This is second time in which John Garang the Dinka tribe leader was supported by Ethiopian Government to fight Nuer Tribe..... In this case what level of respect can we put Mr. Obama now and then if he is getting no control to get involve deep into Sudan tribes and civil matters while he is not realizing that he shouldn’t get involves that deep.........
    I doubt Mr. Obama must love the lawless and criminal state.......I think he believe such lawless state make him rich faster..... I think nobody understand yet where such so much money come from....... I predict stealing will be revealed against him one day.
    Have good day!
    Matung

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    • 8 November 2010 16:06, by Abraham Majur Lam

      Dear Matung you might be mentally disturb because Obama has nothing to do with Dinka but just want justice to prevail in the World. He is just to trying to trade American if you are shortsighted to the extent that you cannot see beyond your noise. May God forgive you for the sins you committed. let us leave all those divisionism and individualism if you rwally and work for the Success of Referendum. Let me hope you are still going under puberty.

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      • 8 November 2010 19:22, by Ahmed Chol

        Maras Matung(Arab)

        You pretend to be nuer but you are an arab. You are using a Dinka name and pretending to be nuer which is contradictory. Destruction awaits the Arabs and their Islamic enshrined city of Khartoum. Khartoum will burn like Baghdad one day.

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      • 8 November 2010 20:52, by Paul Ongee

        Abraham Majur Lam,

        You know this guy called Matung Neng-neng is either a traitor from the South who lives in Khartoum for food pretending to be first-class citizen or an Islamist who poses as a southerner asking probing question to see how Southerners would respond.

        I personally have been waiting for such statement from Obama since Democrat came to power in 2008. The statement shouldn’t be a political one because Khartoum will probably demand or create something else tomorrow as it’s demanding voting rights for Messeriya in Abyei instead of the Sudanese living in Halayib Triangle when elections’ time comes. Khartoum believes that it’s easier to get Abyei from the South than Halayib which is under Egyptian occupation.

        When regional body and international community remind Khartoum about smooth implementation of CPA it quickly responds as usual by issuing statements FIRST against ICC demand as if Al-Bashir has already gone to The Hague to testify. Another response is about getting its name removed from the terrorism sponsor list and the issue of relieving national debts of $35.7 billion. Now everything Khartoum wants will soon be on the table if the political will is existent not only to resolve its domestic issues peacefully but also international ones. Trading accusations without demonstrating political will with peace partner, IGAD, international community, USA or EU will never help Khartoum out of its intransigence.

        When AL-Bashir attempted to make a provocative statement about the voting rights of the Sudanese living in Halayib during last April elections 2010, Egypt quickly responded by sending thousands of troops. There was no any different stupid statements uttered by NISS agents or senior members of the National Criminal Party as they are doing now about Abyei and South Sudan’s referendum that it will reject recognition of the results of the referendum should it turn out to be secession. The issue of outdated unity NCP is campaigning for is outrightly rejected by the marginalized Sudanese in the periphery because it only kept this country at war with itself for over half a century. How can Khartoum and its National Criminal Party impose unity that it cannot define in strongest term?

        What I know we are essentially engaged more in verbal war with the National Criminal Party than the physical one which Egypt is often ready to go for should Khartoum attempt to build up troops along the disputed borders of the Halayib Triangle. I expect SPLM delegation to raise the issue of Halayib in the upcoming meeting in the AU capital in Ethiopia though it is not stipulated in the CPA. This will counteract the issue of the claimed voting rights of the Messeriya which is not even specified in the CPA. I am serious about it if we don’t want to waste time for PR in Addis Ababa next week.

        The delay tactics of National Criminal Party and its unnecessary conditional demands are coming to an end on January 9, 2011 whether Khartoum likes it or not. Khartoum wants to try to strategize execution of Plan C of violating this unique CPA of 2005. We all know and are watching carefully every move of this National Criminal Party. Khartoum will get reminded to stand on straight line of implementing CPA and formation of Abyei Commission to start performing its job of preparing the people of Abyei for its referendum on January 9, 2011. Nothing less or more.

        Paul Ongee
        Khartoum, Sudan

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