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Sudan summons U.S. envoy over Donald Trump’s travel ban

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U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Steven Koutsis (L) received by the Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Abdel-Ghani al-Nai'm on Sunday January 29, 2017 (ST Photo)
January 29, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday has summoned the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires in Khartoum Steven Koutsis to protest against the decision by President Donald Trump restricting entry for Sudanese nationals to the United States.

President Trump on Saturday issued an executive order temporarily banning refugees and travellers to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries – Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

In a press release extended to Sudan Tribune Sunday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Gharib Allah Khidir said Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Abdel-Ghani al-Nai’m has expressed to Koutsis his government resentment over the ban against Sudanese nationals.

He described the move as a “negative signal” in light of the recent positive developments in relations between the two countries following the ease of economic sanctions imposed on Sudan and the joint cooperation in the fight against terror.

A week before the end of his second term, President Barack Obama signed an executive order easing economic embargo imposed on Sudan since 1997.

According to the press release, al-Nai’m underscored Sudan’s keenness to continue the dialogue and cooperation with the American side at all joint levels as well as regional and international issues of common concern.

He added that Sudan awaits the U.S. government to lift its name from the list of states sponsors of terror very soon; saying they also expects the U.S. to reconsider its decision to ban Sudanese nationals from entering its territory.

The US State Department added Sudan to its state terror list in 1993, accusing Khartoum of harboring local and international militants including for a time AQ leader Osama bin Laden.

Since Washington admitted Sudan’s cooperation in the anti-terror war but continues to maintain the east African nation name on the list.

Last September, the State Department spokesperson praised Sudan counterterrorism cooperation with the United States. "In recent months, Sudan has taken important steps to counter ISIL and other terrorist groups and has sought to prevent their movement into and through Sudan," said John Kirby.

Countries on the list of state sponsors of terrorism cannot receive U.S. economic aid or buy U.S. weapons and a raft of restrictions on financial and other dealings. The list currently includes Sudan, Libya, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria and Yemen.

According to the sudanese foreign ministry, Koutsis pointed that he would convey Sudan’s government message to his government, saying the U.S. is keen to continue dialogue and cooperation to promote ties between the two countries in light of the positive moves that have been achieved during the past six months.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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