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Speaker says his visit to Washington raised awareness about Sudan positive developments

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Speaker Ibrahim Ahmed Omer (C) speaks in a press conference held in Washington on 4 March 2017 (SUNA Photo)
March 19, 2017(KHARTOUM) - The speaker of the Sudanese parliament has disclosed that a U.S. Congressional delegation would visit Sudan this year saying his visit to Washington contributed to raise awareness of U.S Congress about the positive developments on the ground.

Ibrahim Ahmed Omer was in Washington last February where he met with a number of U.S. Congressmen known for their support for sanctions on Sudan. The purpose of his visit was to explain his government policy and the government efforts to end the war and achieve democratic reforms.

In a press conference held in Khartoum Sunday, Omer told reporters his delegation met with Congressmen, officials at the State Department and a number of advocacy groups, opinion leaders and businessmen.

He pointed out that their discussions with members of Congress revealed that some of them ignore the reality on the ground in Sudan, adding that made them take negative attitudes towards his country.

In September 2016, the State Department welcomed Sudan’s efforts to increase counterterrorism cooperation with the United States.

However, Congressmen opposed the partial lift of sanctions against the east African Nation decided by the administration of the former President Barak Obama last January. They also requested to maintain the Sudan in the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Following a meeting with Ibrahim earlier this March, U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern issued a statement expressing his "strong disagreement" with the easing of sanctions against Sudan and accused its government of hampering humanitarian access to the civilians in the rebel-controlled areas in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan and Darfur.

McGovern statement came as Khartoum accepted a humanitarian proposal made by the former U.S. special envoy for Sudan to transport medical assistance to civilians in the war affected zones in the Two Areas while the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) declined it, demanding further discussions on the humanitarian access.

The Sudanese speaker said he called on the different parties in Washington to put pressure on the SPLM-N to accept the humanitarian proposal and to engage in the peace process for a lasting solution.

"We have recovered a lot of confidence that was missing between the two countries, and we will go forward until we get out of the embargo and the list of state sponsors of terrorism," he added.

He further said a congressional delegation will visit Sudan next October

Speaking about the definitive and integral lift of sanctions on Sudan, Omer said that he was uncertain that the removal of the economic embargo would take place next July.

However, he stressed that Sudan "is keen to implement its commitments and we urge the American side to abide by their commitments", pointing that "some lobbies and groups hostile to Sudan stand against the lifting of embargo".

In a goodwill gesture, former President Obama signed an executive order providing to ease sanction on Sudan in light of Sudan’s "positive actions" on 13 January 2017.

The partial lift of sanctions will come into effect within a six-month period before its implementation.

By July 12, 2017, several U.S. agencies have to confirm to the White House that Sudan is continuing taking positive steps before the sanctions would be eased.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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