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U.S. says ready to continue dialogue with Sudan

US charge d'affaires Steven Koutsis speaks on 11 July 2017 (ST photo)

May 29, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The United States ?Chargé d’Affaires in Khartoum, Steven Koutsis, has expressed his country’s readiness to continue the dialogue with Sudan, said the official news agency SUNA.

On Monday, Koutsis discussed with the newly appointed Foreign Minister Al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed ways to promote bilateral relations between the two countries.

According to the agency, the U.S. envoy expressed hope the normalization talks move to the second phase which involves removal of Sudan’s name from the terror list.

On Sunday, Sudan’s State Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdallah Idris said they embarked on making arrangements to launch the second phase of dialogue with the U.S. according to the five-track engagement plan.

The meeting also discussed recent developments of the situation in South Sudan.

For his part, Sudan’s top diplomat pointed to his country’s positive role to achieve peace in South Sudan through the regional bloc IGAD.

He demanded the U.S. to support efforts of IGAD to reach a peaceful settlement to the crisis in South Sudan.

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 a debt relief and allow Sudan to get international aid to build its economic infrastructure.

In November 2017, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, John 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 agreed to engage in written exchanges for Sudan’s removal from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.