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U.S. acknowledges improvement in security in Darfur

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UNAMID Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) during a routine patrol near Tabit area, North Darfur on 25 November 2018 (UNAMID Photo)
December 18, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission in Khartoum Ellen Thorburn has acknowledged improvement of the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur’s five states particularly North Darfur.

The governor of North Darfur State Al-Sharif Abbad on Tuesday met at his office in El-Fasher with a visiting delegation from the U.S. embassy headed by Thorburn.

The governor briefed the delegation on the security situation in North Darfur besides his state’s plan to address a number of issues including the effects of war, the situation of displaced persons, social reconciliation and development.

He pointed to his government efforts to enhance stability and establish infrastructure projects, saying North Darfur would no longer need relief assistance as it has moved to development.

Abbad called on donor countries to fulfil the pledge they have made during the donors’ conference to support the Darfur development strategy.

UN reports say the security situation in Darfur has largely improved but stress that the lack of infrastructures and services prevent the return of refugees and displaced persons to their areas of origin.

The Sudanese army has been fighting a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003. UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, and over 2.5 million were displaced.

COOPERATION PLAN

For her part, Thorburn pointed out that her country has approved a plan to cooperate with Sudan during the next period.

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.

The decision was in line with the "Five Track Engagement Plan", in which Khartoum agreed to a cessation of hostilities with the armed groups, opened unfettered humanitarian access in the conflict-affected areas, agreed to support efforts for peace in South Sudan and developed cooperation with the U.S. to counter terrorism in the region.

However, Washington didn’t remove Sudan’s name from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. In addition, it keeps in place targeted sanctions against individuals with arrest warrants related to atrocities committed during the conflict in Darfur.

Last month, Sudanese foreign minister El-Dirdeiry Ahmed and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan started talks in Washington on the normalization of bilateral relations and the removal of his country from the terror list which is the major obstacle in this respect.

At the time, sources close to the talks told Sudan Tribune that the two sides agreed to develop a new plan labelled the “five-track engagement +1” to say it would include important parts of the previous five-track engagement that led to the lift of the economic sanctions.

The sources further pointed out that the focus in the new plan will be on the human rights and freedoms particularly religious freedom.

“So, this time Washington wants Khartoum to observe the international law and principles on this respects but also to amend its repressive and coercive laws,” the sources said.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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