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Sudan’s Hamdok has no chance to get sanctions removal soon: U.S. expert

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December 2, 2019 (WASHINGTON) - Sudan still has a long way to run before to get rid of U.S. terror list and branch sanctions as its civilian government faces ’insurmountable task", wrote Cameron Hudson a former chief of staff to the special envoy for Sudan and ex-director for African Affairs on the National Security Council.

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Sudan Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok speaks during joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Khartoum on 5 Sept 2019 (Reuters Photo)

Hudson is one of the few Americans that follow Sudan’s affairs on daily basis and has close relations with different officials and security services as he also served for the CIA and now he is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

He released a long article on the occasion of the first visit of Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok to Washington who came seeking help on how to bring an end to Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism and relieve Sudanese from the heavy burden that al-Bashir’s era has left on their shoulders.

Before to make a list of what Washington wants from Khartoum before to remove the sanctions, Hudson said Trump Administration fears the "possibility that the military will reassert its authority as soon as sanctions are lifted".

But the most import that he disclosed the concerns that the State Department wants to settle particularly on the counterterrorism level.

The former CIA said Washington wants clarifications about the security and intelligence service after the recent reforms and that this agency is "fully under civilian control".

In addition, he pointed to the presence of "a number of known international terrorists and rebel groups from neighbouring countries most of whom use the large, ungoverned desert expanse from the Red Sea to Libya as an ample hiding ground".

The last issue on the counterterrorism he mentioned is that Hamas and Hezbollah, which are designated as foreign terrorist organizations by the State Department, maintained a political office in Khartoum.

In remarks at the Atlantic Council last October, U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth said that his administration has to verify that Sudan is no longer a state sponsor of terrorism.

Hamdok who arrived in Washington on Sunday held two separate meetings on the same day with Sudan’s negotiating team and the lawyers’ team for the removal from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list.

His delegation includes defence, justice, religious affairs, and youth and sports ministers.

In his detailed article, Hudson mentioned one of the sticky matters that US officials avoid to speak about publicly related to court rulings against the Sudanese government for its support of the terrorist bombings of the USS Cole in 2000 and the US embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1998.

So before Sudan removal from the blacklist, Hamdok government has to pay over $300 million only for the victims of the attack on USS Cole and $2.1 billion in damages to American families of victims of the 1998 embassy bombings.

"With so many pressing needs to respond to, with such elevated public expectation that civilian rule will quickly erase thirty years of corruption and neglect, and with so many countervailing forces on the path to success, Hamdok seems confronted with an insurmountable task," said the expert.

He further underlined internal factors related to the US election in November next year as it is difficult to maintain on the agenda of the policymakers. The second matter is the pledge by President Donald Trump to on terror as he is running for a second term next year.

Hamdok, will not be received by President Trump or Secretary of State Pompeo. He will meet only the Secretary of the Treasury on Tuesday and the Undersecretary for Political Affairs, H.E Davis Hale. Also, he will meet the chair and member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Tibor Nagy, U.S. top diplomat for Africa said they consider the Sudanese civilian government as a partner.

Also, a meeting of Friends of Sudan will take place in Khartoum next week to decide on the support they can make for the impoverished country for its budget for 2020.

The meeting also will decide where to hold a donor conference among reports that Washington wants to host it.

(ST)

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