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US further loosens sanctions on Sudan for academic purposes

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August 11, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The United States Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) announced on Monday that it has introduced some changes to a rule issued last year that allowed Sudanese students and professors to participate in exchange programs and receive scholarships.

In a circular released today, OFAC said it expanded the definition of U.S. academic institutions to include their third-country branch campuses, adding that authorizations as defined now include their contractors as well.

“U.S. academic institutions located in the United States may engage in transactions with Sudanese nationals authorized by this general license before a non-immigrant student visa is issued to such nationals,” the amended regulation stated.

U.S. financial institutions can now “process transfers of funds by Sudanese nationals to pay fees and expenses (including tuition, living expenses, and enrollment fees) to enable Sudanese nationals to participate in authorized academic exchange programs (in the United States or at a third-country branch campus) or authorized professional training seminars”.

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 unilaterally labeled as genocide.

Khartoum has lobbied Washington intensively to lift sanctions citing counterterrorism cooperation and facilitating South Sudan referendum but little progress has been made on this front.

In 2010 however, the US announced it was easing sanctions on agriculture equipment and services which allowed half a dozen companies to obtain export licenses.

(ST)

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