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Sudan summons U.S. envoy over new sanctions on illicit trade in Darfur gold


February 10, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s foreign ministry Wednesday summoned the United States chargé d’affaires in Khartoum, Jerry Lanier, to protest against a draft resolution submitted by Washington to the UN Security Council (UNSC) paving the way for new sanctions on gold mining in Darfur.

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In this picture released by the Sudanese presidency, Sudanese presidential aide Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid meets Ambassador Jerry Lanier in his office on 9 February 2016.

The Security Council is discussing Wednesday the report of the UN Panel of experts on Darfur arms embargo and expected to vote a resolution renewing its mandate for an additional year.

The draft resolution written by the penholder, U.S. mission, expresses concern over illicit trade in gold and other natural resources.

In line with the recommendations of the experts, the draft resolution provides that profits from the illicit trade in gold and other natural resources in Darfur may constitute a threat to stability in Darfur and the region

In its latest report, the Panel of Experts called for taking measures against individuals and entities who threaten peace and stability in Darfur through illegal levies on prospectors and others engaged in traditional gold mining and illegal exploitation and trafficking of natural resources including gold.

Foreign ministry undersecretary Abdel-Ghani al-Na’im conveyed to Lanier Sudan’s strong dissatisfaction with Washington’s targeting of the Sudanese resources, saying the draft resolution undermines the right of the Sudanese people to acquire basic needs including medicines.

In a statement Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesperson, Ali al-Sadiq said al-Na’im told Lanier that Sudan was looking forward to opening a new page of bilateral relations and regional and international cooperation with the U.S., saying Washington’s introduction of the draft resolution has frustrated those hopes.

According to the statement, al-Na’im told the American diplomat that the move gives a green light to the rebel groups to destabilize security not only in Sudan but also in the entire neighbouring countries.

The draft resolution created deep divisions among UNSC members. The U.S. and the UK believe that the illicit trade in gold is a driver of conflict in Darfur. However, China, Russia and some elected members do not think that the illicit gold trade is a significant factor in fuelling the conflict.

Relations between Washington and the government of President Omer Hassan al-Bashir have sourced since he came to power in 1989 after staging a military coup.

Washington imposed economic and trade sanctions on Sudan in 1997 in response to its alleged connection to terror networks and human rights abuses. In 2007 it strengthened the embargo, citing abuses in Darfur which it labelled as genocide.

Also, Sudan is on the U.S. list of countries supporting terrorism since 1993 and also subjected to economic sanctions since 1997.

Al-Na’im also told Lanier that the U.S. draft resolution contrasts with the recent developments in bilateral relations which witnessed intensive meetings and exchange of visits by senior officials from the two countries, adding it also contradicts with the ongoing cooperation between both nations in a number of regional issues.

In February 2013, the former American charge d’affaires Joseph D Stafford said that security cooperation between the Khartoum and Washington, which strengthened more than a decade ago, is continuing, describing it as “good”.

According to the statement, Lanier promised to convey Sudan’s message to his government, stressing that the American administration is ready and determined to engage in dialogue with Sudan and on the various issues.

The American diplomat further vowed to extend bridges of cooperation and build trust between the two countries, expressing readiness to elaborate a road map to develop and normalize ties in the long run.

Since late last year, the two countries have engaged in talks to chart the path for normalization of relations.


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