September 16, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government has said that economic sanctions imposed by the United States on the country are adversely impacting South Sudan as the landlocked nation cannot import goods through Port Sudan.
The director of the US bureau at the Sudanese Foreign Ministry Ambassador Mohammed Al-Abdullah al-Toum, told the pro-government Ashorooq TV that the US administration imposed sanctions but at the same time asks Khartoum to cooperate economically with Juba.
Al-Toum said that US sanctions kick in when the two neighbouring countries are splitting oil revenues priced in US dollars.
Sudan was placed on the US terrorism list in 1993 over allegations it was harbouring Islamist militants working against regional and international targets. Despite close cooperation on counter-terrorism issues over the past decade which Washington repeatedly acknowledged, Khartoum has remained on the blacklist.
Sudan has also been subject to comprehensive economic sanctions since 1997 over terrorism charges and human right abuses. Further sanctions, particularly on weapons, have been imposed since the 2003 outbreak of violence in the western Darfur region.
When South Sudan declared independence from the north in July 2011, the US said it was no longer covered by the existing sanctions regime.
But certain activities continue to be prohibited such as involvement of US companies in refining South Sudan oil in Sudanese refineries.
The Sudanese diplomat stressed that Washington knows that Sudan has nothing to do with terrorism and recognises this in its annual reports.
He reiterated that Sudan rejects conditions related to domestic issues for lifting the sanctions.
Al-Toum said that lobby groups and internal politics forces Washington to manage relations with Sudan through special envoys and not through diplomatic missions and embassies.
He said that Sudan agreed to this approach in the past as north-south peace was the focus of the US administration and that an envoy enjoys greater flexibility in his mediation efforts.
But now conducting diplomacy through envoys is fruitless, he said.
"We have fundamental issues in relations with America and we want [US special] envoy [Donald] Booth to see what he can offer in issues that concern us in our relationship with the US," al-Toum said.