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U.S. envoy praises Sudan cooperation on North Korea

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US charge d'affaires Steven Koutsis speaks on 11 July 2017 (ST photo)
July 4, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - U.S. Chargé d’Affaires in Khartoum Wednesday has praised the Sudanese government cooperation with the American administration to put maximum pressure on the North Korean government to abandon its nuclear programme.

Speaking during a National Day reception at the embassy in Khartoum, Ambassador Steven Koutsis stressed that North Korea’s denuclearization is a top policy priority for his government as Washington still has doubts over Pyongyang’s commitment despite a pledge to denuclearize.

"For this reason, we would like to emphasize our appreciation for actions taken by Sudan and all our allies and partners around the world who support our diplomatic and economic pressure on the North Korean regime," said Koutsis according to the AFP correspondent in Khartoum.

This is the first statement on Sudan’s cooperation with the U.S. government on North Korea since a visit to Khartoum by U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing Marshall Billingslea. The latter met the Sudanese defence minister on 30 April to discuss issues related to Sudan’s military relations with North Korea.

Billingslea’s visit to the Sudanese capital came after a report to UN Security Council on 5 March 2018, by a panel of experts pointing to the persistent military cooperation between Sudan and North Korea.

Referring to the negative of the sanction on the Sudanese economy, Koutsis admitted that Sudan presence in the terror blacklist contributes to complicate Khartoum efforts to improve the economic situation and attract investors.

"I pledge to you that this embassy will work with all its energy and focus to create the conditions for Sudan’s removal from the list," he further said.

In October 2017, Washington removed the economic embargo on Sudan but maintained the east African country on the list of state supporting terror groups.

Khartoum and Washington since have agreed to resume talks on the needed requirements to clear Sudan from the list.

Washington points to the need to improve religious freedom and human rights in the country.

Foreign Minister El-Dirdeiry Ahmed said he would visit Washington soon to resume talks with the U.S. officials on the matter.

(ST)

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