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Sudan cautiously optimistic about relations with US

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October 10, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti expressed cautious optimism about his country’s relations with the United States saying that the latter started to demonstrate positive behavior despite the repercussions of its refusal to grant a visa to president Omer Hassan al-Bashir to attend last month’s meetings of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

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US secretary of state John Kerry meets with Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti at the 50th anniversary African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 25 May 2013 (Photo: US state department)

Karti made these remarks following his meeting with president Bashir to brief him on Sudan’s participation in the meetings of the UNGA, African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) as well as the Rome Economic Conference.

He nonetheless underscored that Sudan’s statement on denial of visa to president Bashir was very well received by many countries.

The Sudanese top diplomat told the president that during the two meetings he had with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in New York and Washington, he sensed positive signals after the visa row.

"We don’t take for granted the things we hear and we will follow up and check on the positivity that we felt," Karti said.

The foreign minister also touched on the meeting organized by the Arab-American Chamber of Commerce in Washington with the participation of 19 major U.S. companies saying it provided an excellent opportunity to present investment opportunities in Sudan and explain recent changes made to the investment laws.

He pointed out that several US companies which applied for licenses to operate in Sudan were granted which he said is an indicator that investments and commercial relations could overcome political difficulties.

The minister said he also briefed the president on the decisions of the AUPSC, which stressed the importance of refraining from unilateral actions with regard to the contested border region of Abyei.

The AUPSC resolution stated that the Presidents of north and south Sudan have the right to continue discussions on the final status of Abyei.

On the consultative meeting between Sudan and South Sudan hosted by the UN Secretary General, on the UNGA sidelines, Karti said it produced positive results that saw full support for Khartoum despite attempts by US and UK to insert "negative" clauses into the final statement which was rejected by other participants.

Karti also hailed the conduct of Sudan’s investment conference in Rome saying it showed that economy and trade are open doors for Sudan to participate in all regional and international platforms irrespective of politics.

He said that Italy in particular had no negative stances towards Sudan even though it is a member of the European Union which had known positions that Rome was not particularly party to.

The minister noted that more than 100 Italian companies participated in the forum, which resulted in agreements and memoranda of understanding with Italian companies which had the opportunity to get acquainted with the latest developments in all areas in Sudan.

(ST)

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