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Sudan’s Ghandour discuss sanctions relief in with U.S. officials

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Sudan's Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour shakes hand with John Sullivan U.S. Deputy Secretary of State on 14 September 2014 (ST Photo)
September 15, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan discussed bilateral relations within the framework of the post-sanctions era in a meeting held on Friday.

Nowadays, Ghandour is on a visit to Washington at an official invitation from the U.S. State Department. After what, he will lead Sudan’s delegation to the UN General Assembly annual debate in New York.

In a statement released on Friday, the foreign ministry spokesperson announced that Ghandour met with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan on Wednesday, 2017-14.14, in the presence of Mark Green, head of USAID and Donald Yamamoto, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs; and Paul Steven, Director of the Office of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan.

Sullivan "stressed the importance of Sudan in the region and expressed his aspiration for good and normal relations with Sudan adding he looks beyond sanctions," said the statement.

He also praised the engagement between the two countries and the five tracks framework agreement, stressing the need to preserve this positive momentum until a positive decision on the permanent relief of sanctions on Sudan next month.

According to the statement, the senior official underlined that the decision on the permanent repeal of sanctions comes from the White House and that everyone is working in a very professional and positive manner in this respect.

Last July, the United States postponed for three months a decision on whether to permanently lift sanctions imposed on Sudan. Washington in addition to the five tracks cited concerns about human rights issues, religious freedom and Sudan’s commitment to international sanctions on North Korea.

According to the Sudanese foreign ministry, Sullivan pointed to the importance of Sudan’s commitment to these additional conditions which are not part of the five tracks but "vital for maintaining the positive engagement between the two sides"

Despite the opposition of the Congress, the President Trump maintained a decision taken by the President Barak Obama last January a week before to leave office.

State Department officials believe that the positive engagement with Khartoum would lead to bringing the government of President al-Bashir to cooperate with the international community in its efforts to achieve peace in Sudan and regional stability.

For his part, Minister Ghandour reiterated Sudan’s commitment to the international sanctions on North Korea. He further said that the issues of religious freedom and human rights are protected by the Constitution and that they are rooted in the values of the Sudanese people, said the statement

Also, the visiting minister expressed the importance of Sudan’s regional role in achieving security and stability and combating terrorism adding that the cooperation with the United States achieves the common interests of both sides.

The foreign minister also met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Terrorist Financing Marshall Billingslea to discuss "ways to strengthen relations between the two countries, especially the issues of remittances and opening up the horizons of investment and trade between the two countries".

The statement said the Sudanese top diplomat met with a number of Congressmen, activists interested in Sudanese affairs in the United States, without further details.

In a statement issued on 14 September, Act for Sudan, a group of Sudanese American activists called on the U.S. Congress members to oppose the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Sudan.

"We implore the U.S. to instead impose additional sanctions on the Sudan regime and to specifically target those who support terrorist ideology and networks; commit genocide, mass atrocities and crimes against the people of Sudan; violate human rights and basic freedoms, and undermine genuine peace processes," said the group.

(ST)

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