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Sudan, U.S. discuss resumption of banking transactions

February 20, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese Prime Minister Mutaz Musa and a visiting U.S. delegation on Wednesday have discussed the resumption of banking transactions between the two countries.

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Mutaz Mousa Sudan’s Prime Minster (GoS photo)

The visiting delegation is led by the Special Assistant to the U.S. President and Senior Director for Africa at the National Security Council (NSC), Cyril Sartor.

Following the meeting, Sudan’s State Foreign Minister Osama Faisal told reporters the two sides discussed the trajectory of the Sudanese-U.S. dialogue, saying the delegation expressed its country’s keenness to move forward with the dialogue.

He added the Prime Minister has briefed the delegation on the economic and political situation in Sudan as well as the government’s vision to overcome the challenges facing the country.

According to Faisal, the meeting also discussed ways to resume banking transactions between the two countries as was agreed in the phase one of the dialogue.

The U.S. embassy in Khartoum on Monday said the delegation came to Sudan “to discuss U.S.-Sudan relations, including concerns about the frequent use of force by the Sudanese government’s security forces to quell recent demonstrations”.

The delegation’s visit came two days after the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed hope that calls by Sudanese people for regime change will be heard.

Sudanese continue to organise daily protests including demonstrations, sit-ins and meetings despite the brutal crackdown by the police, security forces and militiamen of the ruling National Congress Party.

Since December 2019, some 31 people were killed across the country according to the Sudanese authorities but activists and rights groups say the death toll is over 50 people.

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.

In November 2018, 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 focus in the new plan will be on the human rights and freedoms particularly religious freedom.