March 7, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government on Tuesday has expressed “deep regret and discontent” over President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban barring its citizens from entering the United States.
- Sudan’s foreign ministry building in Khartoum (SUNA)
Last January, U.S. courts blocked a controversial attempt by President Trump to block citizens of seven majority Muslim countries including Sudan from entering the U.S claiming that this measure will protect the country from attacks by Islamist militants.
On Monday, Trump included Sudan in a new travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries, saying the east African country still harbours elements linked to terrorist groups.
The revised decision banns refugee admissions and new visas for citizens from six Muslim-majority nations. It suspends refugee admissions for 120 days and halts new visas for travellers from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Gharib Allah Khidir expressed “discontent and deep regret” over Trump’s decision, saying it comes despite Khartoum’s cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
“Sudan has shown a high degree of seriousness and credibility during the five-tracks talks [with the U.S.] in the past months. These talks proved that Sudan plays an important and vital role as a partner in the fight against terrorism which endangers people of both countries and of the world,” read the statement.
He pointed to Sudan’s pivotal role in “laying foundations of regional and international peace and security”, stressing that terrorism is not confined to “a specific religion or a particular race”.
The foreign ministry further urged the U.S. administration to review its decision, saying “Sudanese citizens have never been involved in any crimes or terrorism in the United States”.
The statement renewed Sudan’s commitment “to proceed with the bilateral talks to reach full normalisation of relations between the two countries in order to achieve the higher interests of their peoples”.
Last January, former President Barack Obama eased the 19-year economic and trade sanctions on Sudan. The decision came as a response to the collaboration of the Sudanese government on various issues including the fight against terrorism.
However, the East African nation remains in the U.S. terror list since August 12, 1993. Khartoum at the time was accused of harbouring al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Next June, several U.S. administration agencies will decide to confirm the decision of President Obama to permanently lift sanctions on Sudan or to maintain it.