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U.S. says Sudan is "cooperative partner" on counterterrorism

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July 19, 2017 (WASHINGTON) - U.S. State Department Wednesday once again praised Sudan for its counterterrorism cooperation with the American agencies and described the east African country as a "cooperative partner" despite its designation as a pariah state.

In June 2016 Washington for the first time publically praised Khartoum for its cooperation on counterterrorism. Also in September of last year, it acknowledged Sudan’s efforts in the global fight of the Islamic State group.

However, in its annual report on international terrorism for 2016 released on Wednesday, the State Department underscored Sudan’s positive cooperation but maintained the east African country in its small list of "State Sponsors of Terrorism" with Iran and Syria.

"(...) Countering terrorism is today a national security priority for Sudan, and Sudan is a cooperative partner of the United States on counterterrorism, despite its continued presence on the State Sponsors of Terrorism List," said the report which is released on Wednesday.

The State Department stated that during the year 2016 there were no terrorist attacks in Sudan. It further said the Sudanese government didn’t tolerate or assist terrorist groups during the period covered by this report.

"Reports indicate that the Government of Sudan ceased providing Hamas (with) any direct support as they did in years past," it added.

In its report of 2015, the State Department mentioned Sudan cooperation to counter the terrorist threats but pointed to the declining support for Hamas which had been in the past allowed to raise funds, travel, and live in Sudan.

Following the signing of the five-track framework in 2016, Khartoum has enhanced its cooperation to combat terrorist groups in the region the reports stressed.

"The Sudanese government has taken steps to improve its counterterrorism efforts through enhanced interagency and international cooperation to address the ISIS threat".

Recently, President Donald Trump postponed the lift of economic sanctions on Sudan but underlined Khartoum’s cooperation on counterterrorism. The State Department pointed to the need to further discuss human rights, religious freedom and Sudan’s commitment to UN sanctions on North Korea.

Being a designated as a sponsor of terror, Sudan remains under a special regime of sanctions including a ban on arms-related exports and sales; controls over exports of dual-use items, prohibitions on economic assistance and imposition of financial and other restrictions.

Sudan was labelled as a State Sponsor of Terrorism on August 12, 1993, for its support to three Palestinian terrorist groups, including the Abu Nidal Organisation, Palestine Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Hizballah.

(ST)

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