March 31, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan on Friday rejected a new U.S. travel advisory warning against Americans visiting the country describing it as “contradictory and non-objective”.
- Sudan’s foreign ministry building in Khartoum (SUNA)
On Thursday, the Department of State issued a new warning to U.S. citizens not to travel to Sudan “due to the risks of terrorism, armed conflict and violent crime”.
“Terrorist groups are active in Sudan and have stated their intent to harm Westerners and Western interests through suicide operations, bombings, shootings and kidnappings,” it said.
“Violent crimes targeting Westerners, including kidnappings, armed robberies, home invasions, and carjacking occur everywhere in Sudan but are particularly prevalent in the Darfur region,” it added.
“U.S. citizens should also “avoid all travel" to Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states, two other hotspots in Sudan,” it further said.
In a press release on Friday, Sudan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Gharib Allah Khidir denounced the U.S. warning saying it did not take into consideration the important developments and the great transformations witnessed by his country.
He said the warning ignores “the reality of the situation in Sudan, which has seen several recent visits by the former U.S. envoy to Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan”, pointing to the visit of the United Kingdom and European Union envoys to Darfur.
“Also, an American delegation has recently visited Abyei as well as visits by a number of other delegations from various countries of the world” read the press release
The Sudanese army has been fighting Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, also known as the Two Areas since 2011 and a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003.
Khidir added that the warning has no “objective justification”, saying it “contradicts with the reports of the United Nations, African Union and Arab League which confirmed the establishment of security and stability in Darfur and the Two Areas”.
“Claims that there are terrorist groups in Sudan are contradictory to all praise and appreciation offered by the head of the CIA and other senior U.S. officials to Sudan’s government estimated efforts and great cooperation on counter-terrorism and counter-violent extremism and its clear role in maintaining regional peace and security,” further read the press release.
The foreign ministry urged the Department of State “to conduct a substantive review of the inaccurate information on which the “negative warnings” were based, pointing to the ongoing positive dialogue which aims to normalise ties and serve the higher interests of the two countries.
It stressed that Sudanese security apparatus is ready and vigilant to protect the security and stability of the country and provide full protection to visitors from all over the globe.
The foreign ministry underlined that the Sudanese government would continue to establish security and peace throughout the country, pointing to unilateral ceasefire declared by President Omer al-Bashir and the national dialogue.
Sudan was placed on the U.S. terrorism list in 1993 over allegations it was harbouring Islamist militants working against regional and international targets.
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.
Nonetheless, the East African 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.
Earlier in March, U.S. President Donald Trump 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.
However, a U.S. judge has halted Trump’s travel ban.