April 29, 2011 (WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Friday removed the private Bank of Khartoum from a blacklist of Sudanese entities and individuals subjected to economic sanctions since 1997.
According to the measure, the largest bank in Sudan can now ask the return of blocked funds and assets and resume its activities with the US financial institutions.
In a notice posted on its website on 28 April, the US Treasury Department announced the deletion of the Bank from its list of sanctions without providing any explanation. The statement just cited the Bank of Khartoum and its 50 branches in the country.
However, a US official said the decision is motivated by the fact that it is no longer under the Sudanese government’s control.
Following its privatization in 2002, the Bank of Khartoum is controlled by Dubai Islamic Bank which holds 60% of its shares since 2005. The bank was among 163 Sudanese entities included in the OFAC’s list.
In October 1997, the U.S. imposed comprehensive economic, trade and financial sanctions against Sudan in response to its alleged connection to terror networks and human rights abuses. Further sanctions, particularly on weapons, have been imposed since the 2003 outbreak of violence in the western Darfur region.
US officials pledged last December before the referendum of southern Sudan independence to remove Sudan from the list of states sponsoring terrorism and to ease the economic sanctions.
However Washington made it clear that lifting the comprehensive sanctions is contingent upon resolving the crisis in Darfur.
On 12 April, the OFAC issued a press release saying that South Sudan Republic (SSR) which will be declared officially on 9 July is exempt from the sanctions imposed on the Sudan since two decades.
"Following interagency consultations, OFAC has concluded that the SSR will continue to apply only to Sudan and the Government of Sudan, and that such a new state and its government will not be subject to them".
During recent visit to Washington, the secretary-general of the SPLM North Sudan, Yasir Arman, called on the U.S Administration not to lift the economic sanctions unless the government of president Omer Al-Bashir demonstrates commitment to democratic transformation.
Arman’s statement sparked fury in Khartoum where the spokesperson of the foreign ministry, Khalid Moussa, told reporters that Arman’s call constitutes "a breach of national agendas and principles."