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Sudan’s parliament ready for direct talks with US Congress, says speaker

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April 22, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The speaker of the Sudanese parliament, Al-Fatih Izz Al-din, has expressed readiness of the National Assembly to engage in direct talks with the United States Congress in order to normalise relations and lift the US sanctions imposed on Sudan since 1997.

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Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and former US president Jimmy Carter shake hands at the presidential palace in Khartoum on 9 February 2010 (SUNA)

He pointed to the negative impact of the US sanctions on women and children besides all aspects of development, life-saving drugs, technology, education, aviation, and railways.

Izz Al-din, who met with the Carter Center President and CEO, John Hardman, hailed the effective role played by the center in addressing Sudan’s issues at the international level.

The speaker disclosed in statements to Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA) they would coordinate with the centre to develop reports on the impact of the sanctions to the concerned bodies in the US in order to lift the unjustified embargo.

Washington imposed economic and trade sanctions on Sudan in 1997 in response to its alleged connection to terror networks and human rights abuses. In 2007, it strengthened the embargo, citing abuses in Darfur, which it labelled as genocide.

Sudan is also on the US list of states that sponsor terrorism since 1993 even though the two countries have strengthened their counterterrorism cooperation since September 2001 attacks on Washington and New York.

Former US president Jimmy Carter has recently called on the US government to lift the economic sanctions on Sudan and remove its name from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism in order to meet pledges it made before the secession of South Sudan.

The speaker said the meeting discussed president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir initiative for national dialogue, noting he told Hardman that 85 political parties out of 90 parties took part in the recent political roundtable over the mechanisms of national dialogue.

He added the door is open for participation of political parties which refused to engage in the dialogue, affirming the parliament is waiting for the outcome of the dialogue on the new constitution and elections law.

He further called upon Carter Centre to monitor the coming elections.

Last March, the Carter Centre closed its office in Khartoum which carried out activities under the name “The Democratic Program”, saying the move was dictated by financial reasons.

Since March, 2013 the centre has worked in coordination with Sudan’s Consultative Council for Human Rights (CCHR) to monitor preparations for ratifying the permanent constitution.

In partnership with Emory University, the Carter Centre works to advance human rights and alleviate human suffering.

Since 1995, the Carter Centre has worked to help reduce cases of Guinea worm disease in Sudan and South Sudan through its Guinea Worm Eradication Program.

It also organised a team with more than 70 observers who monitored the 2010 election process in all 25 states in Sudan.

Last year, the Carter Centre launched a series of dialogues between prominent leaders from Sudan and South Sudan, aimed at strengthening peace and creating lasting understanding between the two countries.

(ST)

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