April 17, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese army Monday said Sudan’s participation for the first time in the meeting of the United States Africa Command known as “AFRICOM” in Germany is a step towards removing its name from the U.S. list of states sponsors of terror and the full lift of economic sanctions.
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.
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.
Also, Sudan was placed on the US terrorism list in 1993 over allegations it was harbouring Islamist militants working against regional and international targets.
Washington admitted Sudan’s cooperation in the anti-terror war but continues to maintain the east African nation name on the list with Libya, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria and Yemen.
On Sunday, Sudan announced that the army Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Emad al-Din Mustafa Adawi has left Khartoum heading to Germany to take part in a meeting of AFRICOM chiefs of general staff in Stuttgart, Germany.
In a statement to Sudan Tribune Monday, Sudanese army spokesperson Ahmed Khalifa al-Shami described Sudan’s participation in the meeting as “indicator to transition from sanctions to cooperation on issues that constitute a moral obligation to Sudan in the fight against cross-border crimes such as terrorism, illegal migration, support of negative movements, illegal arms trade and money laundering”.
“Sudan’s participation in “AFRICOM” meetings signifies a breakthrough in relations with the United States and a step to remove its name from the list of countries supporting terrorism and the lift of the unilateral economic sanctions,” he said.
He added Sudan’s participation in “AFRICOM” meetings was ignored in the past because the country is designated by the U.S. as a state sponsor of terror, saying “they used to see Sudan unworthy of participation under this designation”.
It is noteworthy that Sudan and the U.S. earlier this year reappointed military attachés in their respective diplomatic missions in Khartoum and Washington for the first time since over thirty years ago.
Commenting on the size of Sudanese troops that will join AFRICOM, al-Shami said “that is premature”, pointing the participation in this alliance would be through training, planning and coordination as well as any particular tasks that may be entrusted to each country within its geographical context.
He added that Sudan would benefit from joining any military alliances, saying his country’s participation in the meeting came as a result of the great efforts led by the political consultation committee between Khartoum and Washington.
Al-Shami pointed that Khartoum’s efforts to combat cross-border crimes as well as the opening up of relations with the Arab Gulf States and the strategic partnerships and joint forces with some African countries “drew attention to Sudan as an influential country regionally and internationally”.
Established in 2007, the AFRICOM is responsible for U.S. military operations and military relations with African armies.
Besides military cooperation with the African armies, it supports the anti-LRA African Union-led military campaign, a regional operation against Boko Haram group or the military operation on al-Qaeda-linked group AKMI in Mali and other regional operation to eradicate terror groups.