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U.S. senators call to expel Sudanese top diplomat from Washington

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December 21, 2018 (WASHINGTON) - Key United States Senators on Friday called for immediate expulsion of the Sudanese top diplomat in Washington for his role in gross human rights violations.

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The former head of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), Mohamed Atta Abbas Al-Moula (Photo: Reuters)

Former director of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) Mohamed Atta has been appointed Sudan’s Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of Sudan in Washington since July 2018.

In a statement released on Saturday, Senator Bob Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Patrick Leahy, Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Friday sent a letter to President Donald Trump calling for the expulsion and potential sanctioning of Ambassador Atta.

In a letter seen by Sudan Tribune, the two senators voiced their strong objection to the acceptance of Mohammed Atta as Sudan’s chargé d’affairs in Washington saying his presence as a diplomat in Washington "is an affront to our values and our national interests".

"We urge you to immediately withdraw Mr Atta’s U.S. visa, require his departure from the United States, and make a determination as to whether Mr Atta is subject to sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act," they further said.

They further pointed out to the gross human rights violations attributed to the NISS saying it is detailed in the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and documented by human rights groups like Amnesty and Human Rights Watch.

Following Atta’s appointment, Khartoum expressed hope that Atta would continue to use the good relations he developed with US intelligence officials to convince Trump Administration to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terror.

In October 2017, Washington decided to lift economic sanctions on Sudan in line with a five-track framework reached by the two 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 Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorist groups.

The measure is crucial to get debt relief and allow Sudan to get international aid to build its economic infrastructure.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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