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Sudan-U.S. relations witnessing “great leap”: Ghandour

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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)

October

2, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said he held “frank and straightforward” talks with the U.S. officials on Sudan’s sanctions which led to a great leap in relations between the two countries.

Sudan’s top diplomat had recently returned to Khartoum from a trip to the U.S. where he led Sudan’s delegation to the 72nd meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.

On Monday, Ghandour briefed President Omer al-Bashir on the outcome of his visit to Washington and New York and the meetings he held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Following the meeting, Ghandour told reporters that he held lengthy discussions with President Donald Trump’s homeland security advisor, Tom Bossert, on Khartoum’s ties with Washington and Sudan’s efforts to fight against terrorism.

“The meeting [with Bossert] was frank and clear and we discussed the lifting of sanctions and the post-sanctions era as well as the relations between the two countries,” he said.

He added the meeting also stressed that “the dialogue between the two sides has gone well and relations have witnessed a big leap”.

However, he said the decision to lift the economic sanctions “lies in the hands of President Trump”.

Ghandour described his visit to New York as “positive and fruitful”, saying he discussed a number of issues with the U.S. officials.

The top diplomat added that his visit to Washington comes within the framework of the bilateral dialogue between Sudan and the U.S., saying he discussed the implementation of the five-track engagement plan and the bilateral ties with a number of senior U.S. officials.

Ghandour pointed out that the meetings concluded that the five-track plan has been well implemented, saying the U.S. officials told him that they will submit a report to President Trump who would decide on the full lifting of sanctions on 12 October.

Washington is involved in a five-track engagement process with Khartoum over the permanent lift of two-decade-old sanctions.

The process includes the fight against terrorism, Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Sudan’s role in the peace process in South Sudan, Sudan’s peace and the humanitarian situation in Darfur region, the South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states.

Last January, former U.S. President Barack Obama issued an executive order easing the Sudan sanctions on a probationary basis. The sanctions relief was to become permanent on 12 July unless the U.S. Administration acted to stop it.

President Donald Trump, in a new executive order issued on 11 July, moved that deadline back by three months, while keeping the temporary sanctions relief in place, citing the need to take more time to assess the robust process.

(ST)

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