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Washington, Khartoum to discuss removal of Sudan’s name from terror list: envoy

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US charge d'affaires Steven Koutsis speaks on 11 July 2017 (ST photo)
October 21, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The U.S. Chargé d’Affaires in Khartoum Steven Koutsis said arrangements are underway to launch the second phase of dialogue between Sudan and the U.S.

The secretariat of the Americas at the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) on Saturday hosted a dinner party for the U.S. embassy staff in Khartoum in the presence of the NCP deputy chairman Faisal Hassan Ibrahim.

Speaking at the dinner party, Koutsis said the lifting of Sudan’s name from the U.S. list of states sponsors of terrorism would be the major issue under discussion in the second phase of dialogue.

He pointed to ongoing efforts from the U.S. government and embassy to improve bilateral relations, saying he looks forward to kicking off the second phase of dialogue with Khartoum.

For his part, the head of foreign relations at the NCP, Mohamed Mukhtar Hussein pointed to evolving relations between Sudan and the U.S., saying his party is optimistic about the expected outcome of the bilateral dialogue.

He vowed to cooperate with the U.S. side on the various fields, saying the second phase of dialogue coincides with a breakthrough in Sudan’s foreign relations and the resumption of peace talks with the opposition.

In October 2017, the U.S. Administration permanently lifted 20-year-old economic sanctions against Sudan citing positive actions on humanitarian access and counter-terrorism.

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.

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.

Further, 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 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.

Last month, Foreign Minister El-Dirdeiry Mohamed Ahmed met the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan in New York on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The two sides agreed to resume talks on the normalization of bilateral talks and the lift of remaining sanctions particularly Sudan’s 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.

(ST)

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