August 18, 2011 (WASHINGTON) – The United States on Thursday kept Sudan’s name on its list of states that sponsor terrorism a day after a senior official in Khartoum anticipated that his country’s designation will be rescinded.
- President Barack Obama walks toward Marine One while departing the White House on August 18, 2011 in Washington, DC. President Obama is traveling to Martha’s Vineyard to vacation with his family (AFP)
In an annual congressionally mandated report, the US State Department said that Sudan “remained a cooperative partner in global counterterrorism efforts against al-Qa’ida (AQ) in 2010”.
“During the past year, the Government of Sudan worked actively to counter AQ operations that posed a potential threat to U.S. interests and personnel in Sudan. Sudanese officials have indicated that they viewed continued cooperation with the United States as important and recognized the potential benefits of U.S. training and information-sharing”.
The report also acknowledged that Khartoum has taken steps to limit the activities of foreign terrorist groups within Sudan and to disrupt foreign fighters’ use of Sudan as a logistics base and transit point for violent extremists going to Iraq.
Furthermore, Washington said there is little evidence to support allegations made last year that Khartoum provided support to the Ugandan Lord Resistance Army (LRA).
The guerrilla group that is known for their abduction of child soldiers and extreme brutality, sought refuge in South Sudan during the two-decades civil war.
But following the Sudan peace accord, the government in the South said it cut off Khartoum’s supply lines to the LRA so the Ugandan rebels moved north to Khartoum-controlled territory in Darfur to get resupplied.
The Washington-based Enough Project also said in 2010 that it found evidence that LRA units had relocated to Darfur.
However the US administration said that terrorist groups including “al-Qa’ida-inspired terrorists remained in Sudan as gaps remained in the Sudanese government’s knowledge of and ability to identify and capture these individuals as well as prevent them from exploiting the territory for smuggling activities”.
“Some evidence suggested that individuals who actively participated in the Iraqi insurgency have returned to Sudan, and may be in a position to use their expertise to conduct attacks within Sudan or to pass on their knowledge. Sudanese officials continued to view Hamas members as representatives of the Palestinian Authority. Hamas members conducted fundraising in Sudan, and Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) maintained a presence in Sudan”.
Today’s report also noted that Sudan took steps to meet international standards in combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
“The most significant achievement was passage of the Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Act of 2010, approved by the Council of Ministers in January 2010 and ratified by Parliament in June 2010. Sudan continued its cooperation with the U.S. government in investigating financial crimes related to terrorism”.
Sudan has been intensively lobbying the US so it can be removed from the terrorism list. Many officials in the ruling party feel that they alienated their Islamic base by cooperating with Washington in areas like Somalia and Iraq without getting anything in return.
The Obama administration announced earlier this year that it initiated the process of delisting Sudan to reward Khartoum for facilitating the South’s referendum and later recognizing its results.
The de-listing process however, appears to have been stalled by clashes that erupted in South Kordofan between the Sudanese army and Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) units as well Khartoum’s military takeover of Abyei which is a contested oil-producing region that lies on the border between Sudan and South South.
The US State Department added Sudan to its state terror list in 1993, accusing Khartoum of harboring local and international militants including for a time AQ leader Osama bin Laden.
Countries on the list of state sponsors of terrorism cannot receive US aid or buy US weapons and a raft of restrictions on financial and other dealings. The list currently includes Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria.
Yesterday Sudan’s foreign minister Ali Karti Karti told the pro-government Al-Rayaam newspaper that Sudan has been under US monitoring for the last six months in according with relevant laws that require certification that the East African nation does not support terrorist groups.
The Sudanese top diplomat said that the evaluation and assessment process by Washington is now complete.
“The recommendations have now been completed and submitted and 15 days are left from today so the picture becomes clear….This issue will be presented for a decision from the [US] president and then it will be reviewed whether this should be presented to [US] Congress,” Karti said.
The Country Reports on Terrorism was published late, more than three months after its April 30 due date, at which time US law requires the secretary of state to provide Congress a full report about countries and groups deemed to be implicated in terrorism.