Home | News    Thursday 12 April 2018

Sudan, U.S. normalization talks to start soon: minister

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Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan, third from left, met with Sudan's foreign minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, fourth from right, in Khartoum on 16 November 2017. (Photo AFP/ Ebrahim Hamid )

April 11, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said the second phase of the normalization process between Khartoum and Washington would begin in the next few days.

In October 2017, Washington decided to lift economic sanctions on Sudan in line with a five-track framework reached by the countries in December 2016. Khartoum, accordingly, authorized humanitarian access to civilians in Darfur and unilaterally declared a cessation of hostilities in Darfur, the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

The two countries agreed to resume talks on the normalization of bilateral talks and the lift of remaining sanctions particularly its designation as a state sponsor of terrorist groups. The measure is crucial to get a debt relief and allow Sudan to get international aid to build its economic infrastructure.

Sudan’s State Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdallah Idiss told the semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) the lifting of the U.S. sanctions has led to positive steps that will pave the way for the removal of Sudan’s name from the U.S. list of states sponsors of terrorism.

He stressed that Khartoum is ready to resume the dialogue with Washington according to the priorities and tracks agreed upon between the two sides.

Idriss added the Sudanese negotiating team that has achieved the lifting of the economic sanctions would also manage to remove Sudan’s name from the terror list.

He pointed out that the negotiating team is ready to cooperate with Washington on issues of counter-terrorism and combating human trafficking.

Speaking to lawmakers on Tuesday, State Minister of Finance said Sudan didn’t benefit greatly from the revocation of the economic sanctions because its name is still on the terror list.

Following a meeting between Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan on the sidelines of the 54th edition of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) last February, Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said the two sides agreed to begin discussions on Sudan removal from the list of terror.

In November 2017, Sullivan was in Khartoum to launch the second phase of the normalization process and pointed to the need for reforms on human rights and religious freedom. Also, the two countries also agreed to engage in written exchanges between the two countries for Sudan’s removal from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Different sources say the lawsuits filed against the Sudanese government over the attack on USS Cole may be one of the issues raised in the bilateral talks as the families of the Cole sailors sued Sudan and courts condemned Khartoum to pay over 300 million dollars for them.

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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