March 6, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - U.S. President Donald Trump Monday included the Sudan in a new travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries, saying the east African country still harbours elements linked to terrorist groups.
Last January, U.S. courts blocked a controversial attempt by President Trump to block citizens of seven majority Muslim countries from entering the United States claiming that this measure will protect the country from attacks by Islamist militants.
Khartoum at the time condemned the presidential order against its nationals, pointing to its cooperation in the fight against terror saying it sends a "negative signal" as it hopes to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
"Although Sudan’s support to al-Qa’ida has ceased and it provides some cooperation with the United States’ counterterrorism efforts, elements of core al-Qa’ida and ISIS-linked terrorist groups remain active in the country," said the new executive order.
Sudan has been designated as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993 because of its support for international terrorist groups, including Hizballah and Hamas, the order stressed.
The revised presidential decision, however, dropped Iraq from the banned states. An official from the White House said that the Iraqi government has imposed new vetting procedures, such as heightened visa screening and data sharing, and because of its work with the United States in countering Islamic State militants.
The new order which bans citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen allows people from these countries to apply for a visa in several cases including those previously admitted to the United States for “a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity,” those with “significant business or professional obligations” and those seeking to visit or live with family.
The new ban which starts with a 10-day grace period does not include legal permanent residents, people who are dual citizens of another country that isn’t banned, foreign nationals travelling for diplomatic purposes and those who already have a valid visa to come to the U.S.