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Sudan to review anti-terror pact with US: state media

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July 11, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government is in the process of reviewing the anti-terrorism accord it has with the United States to protest the status of political relations between the two countries.

Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA) quoted a senior foreign ministry official who requested anonymity because the decision has not been announced or communicated to the US side, as saying that his country remains committed to the fight against terrorism in line with national security and in accordance with international conventions and treaties in this regard.

The official emphasized that Sudan’s regional role is central to combating terrorism and justified their move by saying that bilateral relations, which should establish the overall policy framework for this cooperation, is inconsistent with the spirit that Sudan has demonstrated in its cooperation in this field with the United States.

It is not clear when this bilateral accord was signed and under what terms.

In response to a question from SUNA on status of bilateral relations with the U.S., the source explained that Washington continues to classify Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism despite recognizing on a yearly basis its cooperation in the field of anti-terrorism.

The official also noted that the US keeps tightening its economic sanctions and goes after banks and financial institutions that deal with Sudan as well as obstructing the country’s efforts to obtain funding and grants from international financial institutions.

Furthermore, the official mentioned what he described as negative attitudes towards Sudan in international organizations, especially the UN Security Council (UNSC).

The latest US annual Country Reports on Terrorism states that “the Government of Sudan remained a generally cooperative counterterrorism partner and continued to take action to address threats to US interests and personnel in Sudan”.

However the report said that despite Khartoum’s efforts, terrorist groups continued to operate in Sudan in 2013, adding that there are reports of Sudanese nationals participating in terrorist organizations, citing the attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi last year.

The report also said that over the past year, authorities continued to allow members of Hamas to travel, fundraise and live in Sudan.

Sudan was placed on the US terrorism list in 1993 over allegations it was harboring Islamist militants working against regional and international targets.

The east African country 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.

In 2005, the Los Angeles Times revealed that former Sudanese spy chief Salah Gosh was a main point of contact for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) war on terror in the Middle East.

The newspaper reported that the CIA ferried Gosh aboard a private charter jet into Washington for secret meetings to discuss cooperation on tracking down Islamic extremists groups leveraging on Khartoum’s extensive dealings with them.

A senior US official commented on the visit saying that Gosh “has strategic knowledge and information about a critical region in the war on terror. The information he has is of substantial value to law enforcement, the intelligence community and the US government as a whole, and this relationship will be of both current and future value”.

(ST)

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