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CIA office in Khartoum is the largest one in the Middle East: official

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January 31, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) office in Khartoum is the largest one in the Middle East, said the Sudanese intelligence General Hanafi Abdallah, to give an idea about the importance of intelligence cooperation between the two countries.

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U.S. embassy in Khartoum

"There is communication between the two bodies and regular meetings. The CIA office in Khartoum is the largest office in the Middle East. Because the United States is aware of the Sudan strategic importance in the region, it has established one of the largest diplomatic missions in the region, even they had to expand their buildings," said Hanafi in an interview with the Khartoum based Al-Sudani newspaper published on Tuesday.

The National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) official who was speaking about the cooperation between his agency and the CIA, which led to ease economic sanctions on Sudan, disclosed that Khartoum had suspended its collaboration with Washington because it had felt the latter didn’t want to normalize relations and cancel the nearly 20-year sanctions.

This suspension of counterterrorism cooperation worried the American side because they felt that they lost the important role Sudan has played in the fight against terrorism, he said.

The intelligence official said the cooperation focused mainly on the fight against al-Qaeda and Daesh particularly money laundering, harbouring of terrorists, use of stolen and false passports and IDs.

He added that the cooperation included the human trafficking.However he stressed that there was no extradition of terrorists to the United sates because the two countries have no extradition treaty.

Asked about the reason behind the belated presidential executive order, the intelligence officer pointed to a hostile lobby in the U.S. Congress that resisted the lift of sanctions on Sudan, saying "they put pressures on the administration to prevent it".

A U.S. official told Sudan Tribune earlier this month, that the Obama administration has been pleased with Sudanese efforts to curb travel by members of the so called Islamic State (ISIS) through Sudan, and Khartoum’s crackdown on alleged shipments of Iranian weapons to anti-Israeli groups.

The Sudanese official also said that the confiscation of newspapers, the detention of opposition leaders and political activists are not part of the five-point agreement over the lift of sanctions.

On 13 January 2017, pleased with the Sudanese government’s efforts on the fight of terror groups, President Barak Obama eased the sanctions on Sudan.

The lifting of sanctions would be delayed by 180 days, however. The delay is seen as a way of further encouraging the Sudanese government to continue its anti-terror fight -and to improve its record on human rights.

The six month delay means that by July 12, U.S. government agencies will confirm to the White House that Sudan has continued to be cooperative on both fronts.

Hanafi said the recent decision of the President Donald trump to ban Sudanese national represents a breach of the five points deal sealed by the two parties on the normalization of relations.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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