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Sudan’s ruling party cautiously optimistic about Pompeo’s nomination as U.S. Secretary of State

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on October 19, 2017. (REUTERS/ Yuri Gripas)

March 17, 2018 (KHARTOUM) Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has expressed cautious optimism over the likely appointment of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Mike Pompeo as new Secretary of State.

On March 13, 2018, President Donald Trump nominated current CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The NCP deputy head of foreign relations Bakri Osman Saeed said the appointment of Pompeo as Secretary of State would have “limited impact” on the normalization of relations between Khartoum and Washington.

He told Sudan Tribune that Pompeo will assume his responsibilities according to the terms of reference of the new office, saying “so I do not expect much impact”.

“His appointment as Secretary of State could positively impact on Sudan, however, making decisions at the Department of State differs from making recommendations at the CIA” he said

“All requirements [for the normalization of relations] must be met … in general, normalization and removal of Sudan’s [name] from the list of terrorism is a political issue” he added

Saeed pointed out that the CIA, since several years, continued to say Khartoum is cooperating with Washington in counter-terrorism efforts.

“But definitely the State Department has other considerations” he stressed

It is noteworthy that Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) boosted cooperation with CIA, particularly after the 9 September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

The CIA is among the few U.S. agencies that continued to recommend lifting of the sanctions and removal of Sudan’s name from the terror list.

Last October, the U.S. Administration permanently lifted 20-year-old economic sanctions against Sudan citing positive actions on humanitarian access and counter-terrorism.

However, Washington left other sanctions in place for the time being, including those against individuals with arrest warrants related to atrocities committed during the conflict in Darfur.

Also, it didn’t remove Sudan’s name from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The two countries are engaged in a five-track process towards the full normalization of relations.

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, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

(ST)

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